18 SEP 2017

MP signs resident's petition

Standing up for Staplehurst Helen on a recent visit to Staplehurst with residents and local councillors Maidstone and the Weald MP Helen Grant has signed a petition created by Staplehurst residents, opposing the inclusion of Henhurst Farm in Maidstone Borough Council's emerging local plan. This f...


16 SEP 2017

Yalding Garden Society's Autumn show

'Gardening shows also have their politics' says MP YGS Chairman Sue Williams, Helen Grant and Best in Show flower arrangement winner Rachel West from Laddingford Size does matter, along with colour, uniformity, peculiarity and a host of other criteria considered by judges at competitive gardening ...


16 SEP 2017

Helen and Archie meet members of 'MAD'

It's a Big Border Bundle at the Weald of Kent Ploughing Match in Marden Thousands of rural-life loving folk descended upon the low weald at Gatehouse Farm in Marden last Saturday where local MP Helen Grant also found time to relax with the local community at the 2017 Weald of Kent Ploughing Match...


15 AUG 2017

Local MP urges increased community efforts to cure blood cancer

And celebrates over 1000 potential lifesavers in Maidstone & The Weald... Helen Grant MP has joined with the Anthony Nolan charity to thank 1018 people in Maidstone & The Weald who have registered as stem cell donors. The figure places the constituency well into the top half of the UK (255 ...


10 AUG 2017

Footpool!

MP supports innovative coaching scheme for Maidstone Helen Grant MP with Kickstart-sports coach George Mannering A pool table the size of a badminton court was where Maidstone & The Weald MP Helen Grant cued-off her first game of footpool last week at Maidstone Leisure Centre. The inflatable ...


10 AUG 2017

Maidstone MP praises home care provider's new live-in care service

Shawlene Chance (Live in Care Assistant), Hannah Finch (Care Supervisor), Geoffrey Kellam (Customer) and Helen Grant MP Maidstone and The Weald MP Helen Grant has praised a local home care company for launching a new premium live-in care service, which means older people who need round-the-clock ca...


21 JUL 2017

Funding Boost for Local Charities

Local MP Helen Grant calls on Maidstone & The Weald Charities to apply for the Dream Fund  MP Helen Grant has issued a rallying call to charities and community groups in Maidstone and the Weald to apply for their share of a massive £3 Million funding pot. The People's Postcode Lotte...


18 JUL 2017

Southeastern rail franchise consultation

Twelve South East MPs unite  Conservative MPs across Kent have drawn on strength in numbers to send a robust message to the Government regarding the current Southeastern rail franchise consultation. In a detailed six page letter to rail Minister Paul Maynard twelve local MPs have set out a ...


07 JUL 2017

Kent County Show 2017

Helen meets some of Maidstone's Young Farmers Maidstone and The Weald MP Helen Grant took time to drop-in on the Young Farmers tent at this year's Kent County Show. She met up with the Young Farmers Club from Maidstone's New Line Learning Academy in Boughton Lane who regularly enter livestock co...


06 JUL 2017

MP continues support for apprentices in local businesses

New Wood Craftsman in the making... Following through on her election pledge to promote local businesses to help create jobs and apprenticeships, MP Helen Grant visited Mounts Hill Woodcraft in Turnden Road, Cranbrook recently. The specialist wood crafting business has been operating since 1983 ma...


06 JUL 2017

Cranbrook School greets its first Year 7 students in a generation

Grammar School expansion goes ahead with new student induction day Cranbrook School is celebrating the arrival of its first intake of 11 year olds for nearly 50 years. Helen Grant MP visited the school on this momentous occasion and took part in lessons as the new Year 7s got a flavour of Biology...


30 JUN 2017

Local MP Helen Grant meets Rocky Hill residents

Fire worries move vulnerable tenants to new homes Following an electrical fire that occurred at Rocky Hill Terrace in London Road, Maidstone, on May 24th Fire Officers have recommended safety improvements to the building. This will require all 38 residents in 36 flats to be relocated. The residen...


23 MAY 2017

Staplehurst Post Office

Local MP Helen Grant pleased with response from Post Office The Post Office Ltd have announced that Staplehurst Post Office branch will remain in it's current location. Reacting to the story Helen Grant MP for Maidstone and the Weald, said: 'I am very pleased to learn that the proposal to move Sta...


12 APR 2017

Defra Secretary, Andrea Leadsom visits Maidstone

Secretary of State signals strong assurances about Brexit preparations for Maidstone farmers  At a meeting arranged by Maidstone & The Weald MP on Tuesday 12th April the DEFRA Secretary, Andrea Leadsom, listened to farmers' and NFU concerns and issued strong reassurances about the govern...


11 APR 2017

Success in Solar Farm Fight

Great Pagehurst solar farm planning appeal dismissal An appeal against a planning refusal for a massive solar farm near Staplehurst has been dismissed, to the joy of local campaigners. Upon hearing the decision Helen Grant MP said 'This is such great news for our countryside and for the many loc...


11 APR 2017

Cleaning up Kent

Maidstone and the Weald MP Helen Grant has welcomed the Government's efforts to clean up our streets with a new National Litter Strategy The strategy, published yesterday, includes proposals for fines of up to £150 for those found guilty of littering. It also brings forward regulations that g...


05 APR 2017

Better Broadband For Maidstone & The Weald

MP Helen Grant recently received an update from Digital and Culture Minister Matt Hancock regarding broadband provision in her Maidstone and the Weald constituency. Currently superfast broadband is available to 89.6% of homes and businesses across the constituency and the Government estimate that t...


25 MAR 2017

Protecting Rural Services

Helen Grant MP has expressed her concern about the proposal to relocate the Post Office branch in Staplehurst and is calling on local people to make their voices heard. The Post Office have announced plans to move the Staplehurst branch from its current position in the High Street to Station Road...


24 MAR 2017

MP Helen Grant Backs East Farleigh Lock Investment

Maidstone and the Weald MP Helen Grant has welcomed a £3 million investment from the Environment Agency to refurbish East Farleigh Lock. The works are the first in more than 100 years and the Environment Agency hopes that this will guarantee the structure for the next 80 to 100 years. The ...


24 MAR 2017

Maidstone Winter Shelter

MP Thanks Volunteers and Organisers at Maidstone's Winter Shelter Helen Grant MP joined volunteers for one of the last Winter Shelter sessions of the season to thank them for their efforts throughout the winter. Now in its fourth year, the charity aims to support people who have become homeless ...


24 MAR 2017

'Mum's the Word'

Helen Grant MP paid a visit to the Princess Project in Week Street, Maidstone to learn more about the work it does to support new Mums across the town's community. The project is sited at the United Reform Church, with a further base behind Christ Church in Park Wood, and provides a wide range of...


24 MAR 2017

Local action on supporting bereaved parents

MP welcomes Co-op move on Child Funeral Costs Maidstone and the Weald MP Helen Grant visited the Maidstone branch of Co-op Funeralcare in Union Street last week and met Branch Manager Steve Thompson. The purpose of her visit was to express thanks for their pledge to launch a new free child funeral ...


10 MAR 2017

Championing FairTrade locally

  Maidstone and the Weald MP Helen Grant paid a visit to local shop Ethos, on Brewer Street, Maidstone last week. She was invited by owner Tim Licence who was keen to meet her during Fairtrade Fortnight when campaigners and businesses have been calling for people to get behind Fairtade to d...


24 FEB 2017

Helen warms to cold weather initiatives

The Member of Parliament for Maidstone and the Weald, Helen Grant has renewed her support for vulnerable people this Winter by backing two cold weather initiatives. Mrs Grant marked National Fuel Poverty Awareness Day by calling on her Maidstone and the Weald constituents to see if they might be ab...


15 FEB 2017

MP takes fight for barracks to the floor of the House

Closure of Invicta Park Barracks to be debated in Westminster Maidstone and the Weald MP Helen Grant will be leading a parliamentary debate next week as part of her campaign to save Invicta Park Barracks from closure. The debate was granted by the House of Commons Backbench Business Committee afte...


14 FEB 2017

The stamp of approval

MP Helen Grant has called on school children in her Maidstone and the Weald constituency to get creative and help to design Royal Mail's 2017 Christmas Stamp. Royal Mail are asking children of primary school age to submit their designs for a special edition stamp to be used over the Christmas perio...


13 FEB 2017

Lord Digby Jones to launch new-look Frederic's Bistro

Lord Digby Jones joins MP Helen Grant in Maidstone Lord Digby Jones and Maidstone and the Weald MP Helen Grant will cut the ribbon on a new extension to a popular Maidstone restaurant next week. Former Minister of State for Trade and Investment Lord Jones and Mrs Grant will be the guests of honour...


01 FEB 2017

MP Secures House of Commons Debate on Military Base Closures

Maidstone and the Weald MP Helen Grant has secured a debate in the House of Commons to discuss the plans to close 91 military bases across the UK. This is a key milestone in her fight to convince the Government to abandon its plans to close Invicta Park Barracks in Maidstone. Helen made the appli...


31 JAN 2017

Funding the Centenary

MP Helen Grant has called on businesses in her constituency of Maidstone and the Weald to take advantage of grants offered by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). As part of the World War One centenary commemorations, HLF has made £2million available this year for communities looking to explore, ...


30 JAN 2017

Lighting the way for Maidstone's vulnerable

MP Helen Grant has urged her Maidstone and the Weald constituents to sign up to receive help in the event of a power cut. The Priority Services Register is a free service run by UK Power Networks which provides vulnerable people with the support they need in the event of a power cut. A number of p...


27 JAN 2017

MP is banking on NatWest

Representatives from bank show commitment to Staplehurst In December 2016, NatWest announced they would be closing their branch in Staplehurst due to security concerns. This followed two ram-raids of the building in 2007 and July 2016. On hearing the news, concerns were raised for the future provi...


24 JAN 2017

MP express disappointment at Inspector's interim findings

An Inspector who is reviewing Maidstone Borough Council's draft local plan recently released his interim findings in advance of the final hearing being held today. Local MP Helen Grant, who presented to the Inspector on 17th November 2016 with concerns for transport and congestion around the town, ...


24 JAN 2017

Helen launches petition to save Maidstone barracks

Maidstone and the Weald MP Helen Grant is launching a petition opposing the closure of Invicta Park Barracks. The petition calls on the Ministry of Defence to reconsider this decision in light of the negative impact upon some 800 service personnel and their families as well as our County town bot...


23 JAN 2017

Backing the new Ofcom App

MP Helen Grant praised a new Ofcom app as she continued her fight for better digital coverage for her Maidstone and the Weald constituents. Mrs Grant, who has repeatedly held Network Operators to account for failing to provide her constituency with quality phone and broadband reception, hailed the ...


14 JAN 2017

Swimming success at historic club awards evening

Maidstone and the Weald MP Helen Grant was delighted to present awards to some of Maidstone's brightest young swimming talents this week at the UK's most historic swimming club. Founded in 1844, Maidstone Swimming Club is recognised as the oldest competitive swimming club in the country. It was f...


14 JAN 2017

'Staplehurst Makers'

Craft group make a name for themselves as local MP lends support Meeting at the aptly named Helen's Coffee House in Staplehurst High Street, Helen Grant talked with members of the collective of skilled tradespeople known as Staplehurst Makers to learn about their refreshing approach to business. ...


12 JAN 2017

Helen backs seasonal agricultural permit scheme proposal

Maidstone and the Weald MP Helen Grant has welcomed comments from Immigration Minister Robert Goodwill indicating the proposed introduction of a Seasonal Agricultural Permit Scheme (SAPS) after Britain's exit from the EU. The scheme, which could apply to either EU or non-EU workers, would allow mig...


10 JAN 2017

Helen's Barracks Campaign Begins

Helen Grant MP ramped up her campaign to prevent the closure of Invicta Park Barracks this week, as she chaired a meeting of MPs who share similar concerns about the proposed base closures in their respective constituencies. A number of MPs attended the meeting in Parliament from right across the...


10 DEC 2016

MP Backs Campaign for Women and Girls

Maidstone and the Weald MP Helen Grant addressed the South East regional conference of Soroptomist International at the Hilton Hotel in Maidstone on Saturday 10th December. Soroptomist International is a worldwide organisation which aims to transform the lives and status of women and girls through ...


09 DEC 2016

Linton Park School leading the way in modern teaching techniques

Helen Grant MP opens £750k hi-tech learning hub Maidstone's Linton Park school has opened a 4300ft2 hi tech learning hub at its premises in Boughton Monchelsea. Helen Grant MP was invited to unveil a commemorative plaque and declare the centre officially open before hundreds of delighted pare...


03 DEC 2016

Yalding Yuletide Market

Helen joins Christmas revelers in Yalding Yalding resident Helen Grant got into the festive mood whilst popping down the High street for an early evening stroll last Saturday under the crescent moon and a crisp winter's air. Amidst aromas of mulled wine and a sizzling hog roast the annual Yaldin...


02 DEC 2016

Helen drops in to check on progress at Marden Primary

Marden Primary School plans for growth ahead of new housing developments  Helen Grant MP at Marden Primary School with (L – R) Governor and architect Richard Hawkes, Head Teacher Malcolm Goddard, Governor and land investment specialist John Weir and Governor Andy Puncher. The advent of ...


02 DEC 2016

Getting behind the Switch Cafe

Maidstone and the Weald MP Helen Grant has thrown her support behind the campaign to keep open the Switch Youth Café in Maidstone High Street. The Café, which opened in 2010, provides a friendly and safe environment for young people to attend, meet like-minded people and receive any s...


02 DEC 2016

MP meets new commanding officer

New commanding officer Lt Col Jim Hawkins takes charge of 36 Engineers Arriving spot on time at Helen Grant's Maidstone East offices at 3:30pm Friday 2nd December the new Commanding Officer of 36 Engineer Regiment forged a firm handshake with the MP for Maidstone & The Weald, setting a solid ...


01 DEC 2016

2016 Christmas Card Winner!

Helen Grant visits Sissinghurst Primary School to surprise her Christmas Card Winner! Helen Grant has chosen 10-year-old Orla Feely's artwork as the design for her personal Christmas card this year. Orla, from Sissinghurst Church of England Primary School near Cranbrook, submitted a snowman donnin...


18 NOV 2016

Farm wetlands scheme gives new hope to Yalding flood victims

Helen Grant to bring Secretary of State to visit in the New Year A Kent farmer working with Kent County Council has started a new initiative to to create a 4 acre 'wetland' to store and hold-back up to 15 million litres of flood water. It is hoped the earthworks will help delay one of the flows th...


15 NOV 2016

MP backs new NotSpot research app

MP continues to fight for improved rural phone signals Helen Grant MP is continuing her fight for reliable mobile phone signals in her constituency of Maidstone and the Weald, by calling on constituents to join a new research project. Industry regulator Ofcom have produced a new mobile application...


11 NOV 2016

Helen opens Alzheimer's Society office

(Left to right) Katie Antill - Service Manager for Medway & Maidstone, Kate Sergeant - Service Manager, Helen Grant MP, Jackie Swapp - Operations Manager Maidstone and the Weald MP Helen Grant paid tribute to the work of Alzheimer's Society as she helped launch the opening of their newly exte...


08 NOV 2016

More money to play with

Success for MP and Marden campaigners A children's playground has been rescued from demolition after local residents brought their MP into the fight. Maidstone and the Weald MP Helen Grant was approached by Marden resident Anna Fisk, who also runs Marden Children's Centre, after failing to secure ...


04 NOV 2016

Secretary of State to address farmers over Brexit in Maidstone & The Weald

  Brexit was the top of the agenda for a group of farmers and NFU representatives when they met with Maidstone and the Weald MP Helen Grant recently. During a visit to the 1500 acre environmentally responsible 'Eckley Farm' in Staplehurst a range of issues were raised including the continui...


03 NOV 2016

Sahara Desert Trek

MP bids good luck to Staplehurst resident ahead of unique Sahara Trek - by wheelchair The MP for Maidstone and the Weald Helen Grant paid tribute to her Staplehurst constituent Luisa Pearce this week who is undertaking a challenging trek across the Sahara - the first person to attempt this in a whe...


02 NOV 2016

MP slams 'nonsensical' housing targets

Local MP Helen Grant has spoken up today for the people of Maidstone and the Weald in a Westminster Hall Debate discussing housing in Kent. The thirty minute debate, brought forward by fellow Kent MP Gordon Henderson, was intending to highlight a feeling that Kent is being asked to take too many ne...


01 NOV 2016

A right royal turnout to welcome the Countess of Wessex

Benendens Village Store formally opened by The Countess of Wessex After commencing trading in June 2015 Benenden's Village Store received its final finishing touches in readiness for the formal opening ceremony by the Countess of Wessex today. The store was packed with local people proud of the...


28 OCT 2016

Helen becomes a 'Dementia Friend'

Maidstone and The Weald MP Helen Grant welcomed Alzheimer's Society to her office in Maidstone last week and along with her Parliamentary Assistant Beth, Helen became a 'Dementia Friend'. Dementia Friends was launched in February 2013 by Alzheimer's Society. It is a trailblazing initiative that aim...


22 OCT 2016

Signed, Sealed, Delivered

Kent's "Most Loved" Post Office commended by local MP Helen Grant Yalding Post office has just been voted 'Most Loved'Post Office for Kent 2016, and to celebrate, local resident and MP for  Maidstone and the Weald, Helen Grant stopped-by to congratulate Postmaster Tim Chapman. Tim said 'I'...


21 OCT 2016

Class is in session!

Helen Grant MP sits down for a Q&A with Mid Kent College students Helen Grant, MP for Maidstone and The Weald, found herself back in class as she took part in a Q&A session with students from Mid Kent Colleges. Students in attendance were all aspiring practitioners and service managers in ...


16 OCT 2016

MP searches for seasonal spirit in her annual Christmas Card Competiton

The MP for Maidstone and The Weald, Helen Grant has launched her Christmas card competition inviting primary school students to design her official Christmas card for 2016. Mrs Grant will hand pick the finalist and winner from the submitted entries and the winning card will be sent out across the c...


27 AUG 2016

A return to hockey after 35 years

Celebrating England Gold at the Maidstone Hockey Festival Former Minister for Sport and Maidstone and the Weald MP Helen Grant returned to the hockey pitch this weekend, 35 years since her last game as a teenager. Maidstone Hockey Club's Hockey festival was organised to attract new members and enc...


11 AUG 2016

Helen visits Harpers!

Unique Maidstone gift shop thrives under new ownership Maidstone and the Weald MP Helen Grant recently paid a visit to Harpers Gift and Coffee Shop located in the picturesque Market Buildings, Maidstone. She was invited by new owners Frank Goodhind and Serena Parker who have recently taken over th...


28 JUL 2016

MP visits newly refurbished Maidstone pub

  Community pub The Stag in Maidstone, has reopened following a joint investment of £70,000 by multi-operator Chris Dyer and the UK's leading pub company, Enterprise Inns, attracting a visit from local MP Helen Grant. The venue, located just off the town's busy high street, has been c...


11 JUL 2016

MP pleased with new flood insurance for small business premises and properties built after 2009

Maidstone, Kent 11-07-16: Following the recent launch of Flood Re for flood risk homeowners there are a number of properties that are currently outside the scope of Flood Re, such as small business premises and properties built after 2009. The insurance product also offers protection for residentia...


11 JUL 2016

Lottery offers funding to local groups

Helen Grant Calls For Bids From Maidstone & The Weald The Big Lottery Fund is calling on local groups to apply for funding to hold events or activities that will bring people together and celebrate what makes their local community special. Applications for funding opened on 6 July 2016 and fur...


05 JUL 2016

MP Backs British Farming at NFU Brexit Event in Westminster

Helen Grant MP signing the pledge to Back Britain's Farmers Helen Grant MP attended a reception in Westminster where the NFU stressed the importance of food security and the need to back British farming following the EU referendum result. Helen said: "The NFU event in parliament was a great opport...


03 JUL 2016

Helen Grant MP promotes Channel 4's 2016 recruitment programme

The Channel 4 Apprenticeship Scheme has just opened for applications for the September 2016 intake and Helen Grant MP is urging constituents to apply, particularly those with disabilities. Helen Grant, MP for Maidstone & The Weald, was a keynote speaker at a Creative Industries Masterclass la...


01 JUL 2016

MP goes back to school

Sissinghurst Primary School talk to Helen Grant after Brexit Vote Helen with Headteacher Cathy Penfold and students Sasha and Mattin at Sissinghurst Primary School At her first school engagement following the Brexit vote, Helen Grant MP spent over an hour with children at Sissinghurst Primary Scho...


01 JUL 2016

'Keeping the Barbie hot is just the tip of the iceberg' says MP Helen Grant

Helen with Harry Saunders (Distribution Transport Supervisor) Jake Holden (Work Experience Student from Cranbrook School) and Paul Blacklock (Head of Strategy & Corporate Affairs) at the Calor Gas Depot in Cranbrook, Kent Helen Grant MP visited the Calor depot at the old station in Cranbrook....


29 JUN 2016

Schools get back to the roots of nature

MP delighted to give school's a special opportunity Helen Grant, MP for Maidstone and the Weald, was pleased to learn that Primary Schools in her constituency are being offered the chance to plant trees with help from the Woodland Trust. The scheme aims to provide schools with a chance to connect t...


27 JUN 2016

Maidstone's Premium Vegan Eatery hosts Amnesty International Fundraiser

Local MP helps promote campaign against FGM and forced early marriage Helen Grant MP with Chipo Kamntanda, Victoria Gascoine, Carol Infanti (Regional President Elect) and Janet Hughes, Maidstone Club of Soroptimist International Helen Grant, MP for Maidstone & The Weald, has attended a speci...


03 MAY 2016

London Road traffic update from Helen Grant MP

Maidstone, Kent 03-05-16: Local MP Helen Grant has been pursuing the developers for a resolution to the traffic chaos caused by the works at the Beaver Road junction with the A20 in Allington, Maidstone. Helen said 'I have finally received a progress report from Barratt Homes which I hope will give...


29 APR 2016

Helen Grant MP welcomes Secretary of State to Maidstone

    Home Secretary, Theresa May MP and PCC Candidate Matthew Scott joined Helen Grant MP at Maidstone and Mid Kent Mind (MMKM) to hear how their Wellbeing Centre supports local people experiencing mental health problems. The Minister listened to how MMKM is currently supporting Kent P...


22 APR 2016

It's a dog's life!

Maidstone and the Weald MP Helen Grant was the guest of honour at the Grand Opening of 'Victoria Paws' – a premier Dog Salon based from home in Barming, Maidstone on Friday 22nd April. Accompanying Helen to the event was her border terrier Charlie who was also Parliamentary Dog of the Year ...


21 APR 2016

Minister acts upon MPs plea for a 'National Dispersal System' for unaccompanied children

Maidstone, Kent 21-04-16: Immigration Minister James Brokenshire MP has announced that there will be a National Dispersal System to ensure Unaccompanied Children arriving from Europe are taken in across the country. This is in direct response to calls from Maidstone & The Weald MP Helen Grant a...


20 APR 2016

MP demands fairness for Kent on Europe's unaccompanied children

'National Dispersal System is urgently needed' says Helen Grant In a Commons debate about 'Unaccompanied Children' yesterday the MP for Maidstone & The Weald intervened to highlight the tremendous pressure facing children's specialist services in the County of Kent. For many months now there h...


19 APR 2016

Future of British fruit industry under serious threat

MP and Kent farmers confront DEFRA over major concerns facing the industry Westminster, London 13-04-16; Major changes are needed if the Garden of England is to survive as a commercial horticultural proposition, say farmers. 'A toxic combination of unique and extreme packaging costs required by ...


08 MAR 2016

MP celebrates Cranbrook School's successful campaign

School to admit Year 7 students from 2017 Cranbrook School is celebrating a watershed moment in its almost 500 year history as Government approves their application to admit year 7 students from 2017. Pupils will now be able to join the school from the age of 11 instead of having to wait un...


05 FEB 2016

Staplehurst campaigners celebrate as Great Pagehurst application is refused

Helen Grant MP: 'This Solar Farm battle is won, but the war has just begun' After three years and an exhaustive opposition campaign Maidstone Borough Council last night refused an application to build a large solar farm installation on green belt land in Staplehurst. The refusal was based upon t...


26 JAN 2016

Rural mobile phone signals - MP keeps up the pressure for better service

Show me your 'Not Spots' says Helen Grant Helen Grant is once again calling upon her constituents to identify mobile phone 'not spots' in Maidstone & the Weald. Mrs Grant is following up on a public meeting she convened a year ago where the four service providers (Vodafone, EE, 02 and 3) and t...


05 JAN 2016

Helen Grant MP celebrates Bus Committee success for rural school children

In the weeks running up to Christmas, Maidstone and the Weald MP Helen Grant grasped the concerns of constituents regarding certain rural bus services seriously affecting our school children. Firstly there were continuing issues with Arriva's 5 service from Cranbrook to Maidstone. Amongst other pro...


23 DEC 2015

Helen Grant MP attends Maidstone Apprentice Academy Open Day

Helen joins Academy Manager Trayciegh Hendy (centre) and staff MP for Maidstone and the Weald Helen Grant was delighted to visit Maidstone based Apprentice Academy '3aaa' at their premises in Knightrider Street recently. 3aaa (aspire, achieve, advance) are a purpose-built academy serving the Ken...


15 DEC 2015

Helen Grant MP to bridge the Atlantic with Kent Vineyards

English sparkling wine wins challenge against Champagne says new report Helen Grant MP with Herbert Hall Founder Nick Hall (left), Associate Winemaker Peter Morgan and Winemaker Kirsty Smith English Sparkling Wines take the two top spots in French champagne challenge according to a new...


30 NOV 2015

MP visits new ward at Maidstone Hospital

Trust Opens £3 Million Respiratory Ward at Maidstone Hospital Helen Grant MP was invited to view the newly refurbished 31-bed respiratory ward which will open at Maidstone Hospital on Monday 30 November. John Day ward has been re-modelled and modernised to create a much-improved and impres...


30 NOV 2015

Helen Grant MP takes the Blindfold Challenge

Promoting the 'My Guide' partnership scheme for the blind and partially sighted Maidstone & The Weald MP Helen Grant walked blindfolded through the streets of Maidstone on Friday last week to help promote the My Guide campaign devised by Guide Dogs for the Blind. Starting at 2:30pm on Statio...


17 NOV 2015

MP polls 1000 Marden residents about Solar farms

The Southerly view of Widehurst Farm  Maidstone & The Weald MP Helen Grant has turned up the heat in the fight to prevent Solar Farms from blighting the landscape in the Low Weald of Kent. She has personally written to just under 1000 local households asking for their views and comments...


16 NOV 2015

Vice Presidents visit Maidstone Mencap

  MP Helen Grant visited a playgroup session at Maidstone Mencap in Cobtree Hall recently to meet with President Andrew Wellsand Trustees. She was joined by her fellow Vice Presidents Tom Tugendhat MP, Helen Whately MP & Pat Wilmshurst. Maidstone Mencap aim to make a positive difference...


12 NOV 2015

'Progress at last' says MP

Helen Grant delighted as Cranbrook Town Centre regeneration is set to proceed Cranbrook, Kent 12-11-15: Last night the Tunbridge Wells Borough Council planning committee conditionally approved an application to demolish buildings on the Cranbrook Engineering site. This has opened the way for tow...


04 NOV 2015

MP reveals Cranbrook survey results

Town gives overwhelming support for Community Hub plans   Maidstone & The Weald MP Helen Grant has revealed the results of her recent survey of Cranbrook Residents ahead of next week's planning committee meeting at Tunbridge Wells Borough Council in the fight for Cranbrook's new Communi...


02 NOV 2015

Helen Grant MP opens new Indian Take-Away Jhal Chilli

Helen Grant MP was delighted to open a new Indian take-away, Jhal Chilli on Friday 30th October 2015. Mrs Grant joined owner Shirazur Rahman and Heart of Kent Hospice representative, Dyanne Cox in the new premises in Union Street, Maidstone. The MP for Maidstone and the Weald sampled some of the de...


21 OCT 2015

MP polls 2000 Cranbrook residents about Community Hub

Maidstone & The Weald MP Helen Grant has stepped up the pressure in the fight for Cranbrook's new Community Hub. She has personally written to almost 2000 local households asking for their views and comments on the value of preserving the unoccupied buildings off Stone Street, or allowing their...


14 OCT 2015

Helen Grant MP welcomes a new commuter coach service

Helen Grant MP has welcomed the launch of a new affordable coach service which will benefit local workers commuting to London. Provided by The Kings Ferry (part of National Express) the service began operating on 5th October offering a quality new London-bound commuter service picking up at locat...


21 SEP 2015

MP's fight to stop rural speeding unites police, councillors and communities

A campaign to reduce traffic speeding in The Weald has gathered new momentum as Helen Grant's Rural Speeding workinggroup agreed their first steps in tackling the scourge. After raising the issue with the Police and Crime Commissioner at Kent Police HQ in February, the MP for Maidstone & The ...


13 SEP 2015

MP Helen Grant presents special award to Maidstone Mela

Helen Grant presents Veteran volunteer Dennis Edwards with special award at Maidstone Mela Longstanding Maidstone Mela volunteer of 12 years received a lovely surprise at the 2015 festival of culture at Mote Park last Sunday. Unsung hero Dennis Edwards from Barming was intending to escort local MP...


11 SEP 2015

Conservatives celebrate By-Election victory in Fant

MP Helen Grant praises text book campaign Conservative activists reflected and celebrated a hard fought by-election in Fant Ward, Maidstone after securing victory last Thursday night. Winning candidate Matthew Boughton was joined by a large group of people who had been involved in his campaign. T...


24 AUG 2015

MP leads local campaign against pavement parking alongside Sobell Lodge staff and residents

'Parking on Pavements is hazardous, and here's the proof' said Maidstone & the Weald MP Helen Grant during a visit to Staplehurst on Friday 21st August. On a recent previous visit, Helen and Tracy Haith, the Sobell Lodge Service Manager, had discussed the difficulties wheelchair users ha...


13 JUL 2015

Maidstone Girls in top two of over 1000 UK teams

Helen Grant, Member of Parliament for Maidstone and the Weald was delighted to join the Girls' Football Team at Loose Primary School recently to celebrate their success at the under 11's Danone Nations Cup. Mrs Grant first met the girls after she was invited to take a tour of Loose Primary School...


13 JUL 2015

Driving Down Speed Limits - Success for Helen Grant MP and Local Campaigners!

Helen Grant, Member of Parliament for Maidstone and the Weald, recently visited St. Helen's Montessori School in East Farleigh to celebrate the success of the local 'Stop Speeding' petition.  The campaign was started by local residents, who contacted Helen after a very serious collision last...


25 MAR 2015

Victory for Campaigners as Cripple Street housing application is put to bed

There was success for campaigners last week, as Maidstone Borough Council's Planning Committee rejected a proposed housing application for 36 homes on a greenfield site in Cripple Street. Helen Grant, the MP for Maidstone and the Weald, attended the packed meeting at Maidstone Town Hall to offer sup...


17 MAR 2015

Local MP turns up the heat on proposed Solar Farm at Great Pagehurst Farm

Helen Grant, MP for Maidstone & the Weald, recently visited the Great Pagehurst Farm in Staplehurst, where Vogt Solar Ltd are planning to build an industrial solar power station across 53 acres of land. Helen has been working extensively to oppose this development since July 2013 when it was fi...


10 MAR 2015

'Inspiring Women in Sport' Helen Grant MP chats to local students

After speaking at the launch of the 'Inspiring Women in Sport' campaign, Helen Grant the MP for Maidstone & the Weald, volunteered to voice her support locally and share her experiences of being a woman in Sport. Mrs Grant attended Maidstone Grammar School for Girls to speak to students at a ...


10 MAR 2015

Marking National Apprenticeship Week - Helen Grant MP praises KCC local apprenticeship scheme

National Apprenticeship Week celebrates apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on businesses, individuals and the wider economy. MP for Maidstone & the Weald, Helen Grant supported the initiative locally when she met local Business Administration Apprentice, Gemma Clarke to learn mor...


10 MAR 2015

Minister Praises Sport Activity at Loose Primary School

Maidstone, Kent 06-03-15: Helen Grant MP, Minister for Sport, is looking closely at sport development across the country, particularly within younger people at grass roots levels. On Friday 6th March she visited Loose Primary school in Maidstone. 'We will only increase participation in sport, and r...


10 MAR 2015

Helen Grant MP Wins Deal for Pensioners with Renown Buses - Including a day trip to the New Forrest this Summer!

Maidstone, Kent 10-03-15: Maidstone and The Weald MP Helen Grant continued with her mission to get a better deal for pensioners last week. Senior representatives from Renown buses heeded a call from Helen to meet with residents of Harmsworth Court retirement homes in Benenden on Friday 7th March to...


05 MAR 2015

Helen stands up for pensioners across the constituency following huge survey response

Helen Grant, MP for Maidstone and the Weald, stepped up her campaign to stand up for pensioners on Monday 2nd March 2015 following a huge survey of older residents across the constituency. Mrs Grant's Survey has generated over 1,000 responses so far on a range of transport issues including parking,...


19 FEB 2015

Win for campaigners on Rural Speeding

Campaigners say they've won a new deal from the police to crack down on speeding through rural villages in the Weald after a speed summit with Kent's Police and Crime Commissioner. The meeting set up by Maidstone and the Weald MP, Helen Grant and Cranbrook County Councillor, Seán Holden, bro...


10 FEB 2015

MP represents Maidstone Commuters in South Eastern meeting

Maidstone, Kent, Friday 6th February 2015: The MP for Maidstone and the Weald Helen Grant met with a senior representative from South Eastern Trains last week to present feedback on their services. After inviting comments from constituents via a leaflet which was distributed at Maidstone East trai...


09 FEB 2015

Benenden Village shows how to use the Localism Bill

Helen Grant MP praises best practice in model approach Maidstone, Kent, 07-02-15: Helen Grant has praised the community of Benenden in creating a vision of the future for their idyllic Kentish Village. On Saturday 7th February 2015 Helen was amongst almost two hundred local people who attended th...


09 FEB 2015

Campaigners win another battle in the fight to save Fant Farm from housing development

Helen Grant MP and local residents stand firm Maidstone, Kent, 07-02-15: Following a huge effort from local people working together with their MP and Ward Councillors, the Cabinet of Maidstone Borough Council removed Fant Farm from the local plan last week. Hundreds of emails were sent to Officers...


06 FEB 2015

Helen Grant MP speaks about power of partnership working at CPRE Kent Flood Conference

Helen Grant tells CPRE flood conference delegates: "Major funding applications must be supported by a joined up campaign before Ministers will act" Maidstone, Kent, Friday 6th February 2015: The Kent Branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) held a conference about 'Lessons Learned' f...


04 FEB 2015

Helen Grant MP joins residents to oppose further developments on Greenfield sites in Barming

Helen Grant, Member of Parliament for Maidstone and the Weald, met with local residents in Barming recently after being contacted regarding concerns over a potential development in the beautiful area. The Barming Greenfields Group contacted Helen to express their concern for a Greenfield site on Be...


21 JAN 2015

Helen Grant steps up campaign for commuters

MP secures concessions from Department for Transport and will chair 2nd meeting with Southeastern Helen Grant, Member of Parliament for Maidstone and the Weald, stepped up her campaign for commuters on Tuesday, convening a second meeting with Southeastern to address concerns about trains serving Ma...


21 JAN 2015

MP backs residents in opposing Cripple Street & Postley Road Developments

Helen Grant to write to Chief Executive and Head of Planning at Maidstone Borough Council to strongly oppose plans Helen Grant, Member of Parliament for Maidstone and the Weald, is supporting residents in opposing two proposed housing developments in the Loose area. Helen was joined by local resid...


09 JAN 2015

MP's stop-speeding campaign finds fresh young legs!

Helen Grant takes campaign to County Hall supported by schoolchildren, parents, teachers, residents & councillors Friday January 9th 2015: Helen Grant, MP for Maidstone and the Weald, took her constituency-wide stop-speeding campaign to County Hall, Maidstone, on Friday January 9th, supported ...


07 JAN 2015

MP calls second meeting with Arriva bus management to address ongoing problems with service

Helen Grant, MP for Maidstone and the Weald, will convene and chair a second meeting with the Arriva Bus management team on Friday 9th January to tackle ongoing problems with the company's services and review progress since the last meeting in September. The MP will lead the meeting alongside a del...


06 JAN 2015

MP steps up stop-speeding campaign in Maidstone and the Weald

Helen Grant to present letter and petitions on speeding to Kent County Council Helen Grant, Member of Parliament for Maidstone and the Weald, will present two petitions on speeding to Kent County Council on Friday 9th January 2015. The MP will meet KCC's Cabinet Member for Highways, David Brazier, ...


23 DEC 2014

MP thanks postmen & women for their hard work at Christmas

Helen Grant, MP for Maidstone and the Weald, visited Royal Mail's Maidstone delivery office on Friday. She wanted to see for herself the massive operation undertaken there at Christmas and pay tribute to the staff for their care and hard work. Speaking after her visit, Helen said: "The enormous e...


22 DEC 2014

Local MP joins Alzheimer's Society for Festive Fundraising and Carols at Maidstone's Mall Shopping Centre

Helen Grant joined the Alzheimer's Society at Maidstone's Mall Shopping Centre on Friday singing festive favourites fundraising for people with Dementia. Alzheimer's Society staff and volunteers provide local information and over 2,000 services across the UK to people affected by dementia in their ...


19 DEC 2014

Festive fun at MP's Christmas surgeries

The MP for Maidstone and the Weald, Helen Grant, held her final two surgeries of the year today at Asda Living in Maidstone and Tesco in Tovil with Christmas cheer aplenty. Speaking afterwards, the MP commented: "My outreach surgeries at supermarkets across the constituency, and at Maidstone Hospi...


10 DEC 2014

Local MP and Minister for the First World War Centenary, Helen Grant, attends Carol Service for Christmas Truce

All Saints Church, Maidstone 07-12-14: Helen Grant, Member of Parliament for Maidstone and the Weald, Minister for Sport and the Minister responsible for the Government's First World War Centenary Commemorations, attended a special carol service at All Saints Church, Mill Street, on Sunday in memory...


10 DEC 2014

Maidstone MP & Tourism Minister Helen Grant champions local firms for Small Business Saturday

Helen Grant, MP for Maidstone and the Weald and Minister for Tourism, championed small businesses in Maidstone on Saturday as part of Small Business Saturday. Mrs Grant visited several businesses in the County Town with the Kent branch of the Federation of Small Business. Starting at Maidstone Town...


10 DEC 2014

Christmas Cheer as Helen chooses Christmas Card Competition Winner

Helen Grant, MP for Maidstone and the Weald and Minister for Sport and Tourism, has chosen Chiamaka Mbadike, Aged 9, to design her official Christmas Card for 2014. Chiamaka, from St Francis Catholic Primary School in Maidstone, was among almost 200 entries to Mrs Grant's Christmas Card Competition...


02 DEC 2014

MP's Wealden survey sparks mobile coverage campaign

Public meeting in February to tackle mobile coverage black spots Cranbrook 02-12-14 - Helen Grant, Member of Parliament for Maidstone and the Weald and Minister at the Department of Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) has launched a campaign to improve mobile phone coverage across the Weald. The MP'...


19 NOV 2014

Maidstone students interview Helen before winning Digital Democracy prize for Parliament Week

Helen Grant, MP for Maidstone and the Weald and Minister for Sport and Tourism, was grilled by Oakwood School students last week as part of a Digital Democracy competition called Hardcopy or #Hashtag?" for UK Parliament Week. Organised by the Political Studies Association (PSA), students were asked...


12 NOV 2014

Helen Grant brokers breakthrough deal with Southern Water

30 year sewage stalemate to end alongside strategic review for future development Helen Grant, MP for Maidstone and the Weald, organised and chaired a roundtable meeting of parish, borough and county councillors, affected residents, Southern Water's Chief Executive, their Director of Infrastructure...


11 NOV 2014

Helen Grant MP supports Help for Heroes at Asda Living on Remembrance Sunday

Maidstone, Kent 09-11-14; 200 miles in two days – that was the target Help for Heroes fundraisers set themselves for their Big Battlefield Bike Ride last weekend. Helen Grant MP went along to offer her support after attending the Maidstone Remembrance Day service at the war memorial. No str...


04 NOV 2014

Halloween Helen visits Team Tutsham at their fundraising spooktacular

1st November 2014, West Farleigh, Maidstone; Dozens of ghastly ghouls gathered together on Tutsham Farm, West Farleigh last Saturday, attempting to out-do each other in a fundraising fancy dress competition. Children and parents alike donned their darkest drapes and paraded before chief judge Hele...


04 NOV 2014

Marden and Staplehurst's sorry sewage systems

Residents prepare carefully for meeting with Southern Water Helen Grant, Member of Parliament for Maidstone and the Weald, convened a meeting of residents and local councillors on Friday 31st October, to prepare for the MP's much-anticipated meeting with Southern Water. Helen and a Parish and Boro...


22 OCT 2014

Helen meets South Eastern to ensure train services for Maidstone are on track

Helen Grant met with South Eastern trains on Wednesday October 22nd to ensure Maidstone and the Weald train services were on track, following the renewal of the company's franchise on October 12th. Mrs Grant was able to ask Director of Train Services, Richard Dean (pictured left), about a range of ...


21 OCT 2014

Helen Grant: new apprenticeships mean more young people in Maidstone and the Weald getting the skills they need for the future

Helen Grant has welcomed new figures showing 580 new apprenticeships were started by people in Maidstone and the Weald last year. In total 2,550 new apprenticeships have been started in Maidstone and the Weald since 2010. This means more young people getting the skills they'll need to get on in lif...


14 OCT 2014

Helen chairs second flood forum for Maidstone and the Weald

Secretary of State commends 'Partnership Working' as a model approach for others to follow Maidstone, Kent, 14-10-14: Helen Grant, Member of Parliament for Maidstone and the Weald, convened and chaired a second Future Flood Management Forum on Friday 10th October to ensure progress is being made on...


30 SEP 2014

Survey sparks Southern Water sewage campaign

MP, Borough Council Leader and Parish Councillors join forces to deal with debacle Marden, Kent – 30th September 2014: A survey of 1500 people in the village of Marden in August 2014, by Helen Grant MP, produced a large response about local issues. One of the biggest concerns (65%) was the e...


30 SEP 2014

Arriva Bus Management held to account

MP chairs round table meeting to improve services in Staplehurst Maidstone, Kent 30-09-14: 'Our school children can't get home at night' say Staplehurst Parents. That was one of the ongoing concerns that were brought to the table at a recent meeting called by Maidstone and the Weald MP Helen Grant ...


17 SEP 2014

Minister for Sport and Maidstone MP Helen Grant on the mats at Combat Martial Arts

Wednesday 17th September 2014: Helen Grant, MP for Maidstone and the Weald and Minister for Sport, popped in to a Combat Martial Arts training session in Hunton Village Hall last night to check out the facilities and rediscover some of her old Judo moves. Mrs Grant is a former under-16 Judo Champio...


17 SEP 2014

Minister for Sport and Maidstone & the Weald MP Helen Grant officially opens High Weald Academy's new Sports Hall

Helen Grant, UK Minister for Sport and MP for Maidstone and the Weald officially opened High Weald Academy's new £1.2m Sports Hall yesterday. As a specialist sports college the Academy recognises the power of sport to transform learning and raise self-esteem. The sports leadership programme a...


09 SEP 2014

Helen Grant MP moves into Maidstone East Station - New Constituency office now open

Maidstone, Kent September 9th 2014; Maidstone and the Weald MP Helen Grant has re-located her Constituency office to Maidstone East Station after her former office building at Link House, Knightrider Street was sold for re-development earlier this year. The accommodation is shared with Maidstone's ...


26 AUG 2014

MP enters consultation debate on Bridge Nursery development plans

Helen Grant has written to Maidstone Borough Council voicing her concerns about a proposed housing development on the Bridge Nursery site in London Road, Allington. It follows the results of a survey undertaken by the MP for Maidstone & the Weald after the issue was brought to her attention by a...


08 AUG 2014

Helen Grant MP drops in to Marden history exhibition marking First World War Centenary

Helen Grant MP, Member of Parliament for Maidstone and The Weald and the minister responsible for the government's First World War Centenary commemorations dropped in the Marden history exhibition on Friday to see the Marden History Group's special exhibition marking the First World War Centenary. ...


23 JUL 2014

Meet Helen for a chat and a cuppa!

Helen Grant MP, Member of Parliament for Maidstone & The Weald, will be hosting a "Meet Helen" morning offering coffee, tea and biscuits at Abigail's Coffee Shop in the Unicorn Pub and Restaurant, Marden on Friday August 1st between 11am and midday. The event provides an opportunity for constit...


23 JUL 2014

Sports Minister and Maidstone MP Helen Grant signals the start of Big Fun Run in Maidstone's Mote Park

Helen Grant MP, Member of Parliament for Maidstone and The Weald and Minister for Sport, signalled the start of the Big Fun Run around Maidstone's Mote Park on Saturday. The 5K Big Fun Run is one of 17 untimed runs staged within scenic settings throughout the UK from July to October and open to all ...


23 JUL 2014

Tourism Minister and local MP Helen Grant drops into Greenworld Pets in Staplehurst

Helen Grant MP, Member of Parliament for Maidstone and The Weald and Minister for Tourism, dropped into Greenworld Pets in Staplehurst to check out the facilities, learn about their work and meet the team and some of the animals. Greenworld's is a sustainable business venture offering pet supplies ...


16 JUL 2014

Tourism Minister & Maidstone MP Helen Grant bangs the drum for schools' 'Explorer Day' at Maidstone Museum

Helen Grant MP, Member of Parliament for Maidstone & The Weald and Minister for Tourism, attended a schools' 'Explorer Day' at Maidstone Museum on Friday as part of the Museums and Schools' project funded by the Department for Education through Arts Council England, which aims to inspire childre...


01 JUL 2014

Helen Grant MP in and around the constituency at local fetes

MP Helen Grant was in and around her rural communities last Saturday as she attended two village fetes. First stop was Staplehurst where Surrenden Field offered a funfair, live stage, and traditional stalls selling everything from Juicy Cherries to Judo Lessons. Saturday was also Armed Forces Day ...


01 JUL 2014

Helen Grant MP announces new community outreach surgeries

Helen Grant MP, Member of Parliament for Maidstone & The Weald, has announced two further community outreach surgeries owing to the popularity of her regular surgeries at Asda Living on St Peter Street, Sainsbury's in Romney Place and Waitrose in Allington. Helen will now be operating outreach ...


18 JUN 2014

Helen Grant MP visits St Michael's Infant School in Fant after 3rd 'outstanding' OFSTED inspection

On Friday, Helen Grant MP, Member of Parliament for Maidstone and The Weald and Minister for Sport & Tourism, visited St Michael's Infant School in Fant after their 3rd 'outstanding' OFSTED inspection. The school achieved their 'outstanding' OFSTED recognition in 2008, 2011 and most recently in ...


17 JUN 2014

Sports Minister drops into Palace Wood Primary's Sports Day following their win in the Maidstone Hockey Championships

Helen Grant MP, Member of Parliament for Maidstone and The Weald and Minister for Sport, dropped into Palace Wood Primary's Sports Day in Allington on Friday, to congratulate the Year 6 Hockey team on winning the Maidstone Hockey Championships and for representing the borough at the district finals ...


10 JUN 2014

Tourism Minister Helen Grant finds out what makes a successful apprentice

Friday 6th June 2014, Maidstone, Kent: Helen Grant MP is on a mission in her role as Tourism Minister to find ways of bringing more skilled people into the British Hospitality industry and reap the many benefits of the ongoing boom in the sector. Apprenticeships are becoming more and more importan...


09 JUN 2014

Sports Minister Helen Grant presents prizes at Maidstone Riverbank fundraiser run

Sunday 8th June 2014, Maidstone Kent: Helen Grant, MP for Maidstone & the Weald and Minister for Sport, joined a merry band of fundraisers on the riverbank in Maidstone to welcome almost 150 runners home this Sunday. It was the third year of the Maidstone Riverside Run, a fundraiser for Cancer...


29 MAY 2014

Helen Grant MP visits Pegasus Gymnastics Club in Tovil

Helen Grant MP, Member of Parliament for Maidstone and The Weald and Minister for Sport, visited Pegasus Gymnastics Club last week to check out their new facilities. The Club provides international level coaching, with a full range of Olympic apparatus for both Men's and Women's Artistic Gymnastics,...


29 MAY 2014

Helen Grant MP opens Easistore in Maidstone

Helen Grant MP, Member of Parliament for Maidstone and The Weald, joined the Mayor of Maidstone to open Easistore Self Storage in Maidstone last week. The new Maidstone storage facility is located on Hart Street, close to Maidstone West station and the centre of Maidstone. Offering state-of-the-art ...


21 MAY 2014

Helen Grant MP and Asda team up for Maidstone

Helen Grant MP, Member of Parliament for Maidstone and the Weald, will be holding a 'Meet Helen' event at the Asda Living store in St Peter Street, Maidstone on Friday 30th May between 10am-11.30am. Asda invited Helen to the store to learn about their work for the local community and the idea for a...


21 MAY 2014

Helen Grant MP attends Mini World Cup at Maidstone United

On Friday, Helen Grant MP, Member of Parliament for Maidstone and The Weald and Minister for Sport, attended the Mini World Cup at Maidstone United's Gallagher Stadium. The event, co-ordinated by John Saunders from the Maidstone School Sport Partnership, involved 320 children from schools across th...


12 MAY 2014

Helen Grant MP commemorates bicentenary of Cranbrook's Union Windmill

On Saturday 10 May, Helen Grant MP, Member of Parliament for Maidstone and The Weald and Minister for Tourism, unveiled a plaque at Vestry Hall in Cranbrook to commemorate John Russell and celebrate the bicentenary of Cranbrook's famous windmill. Speaking at the event, Helen Grant MP said: "I was ...


28 APR 2014

Helen Grant MP attends Marden Health Fair

On Saturday 26th April, Helen Grant MP, Member of Parliament for Maidstone and The Weald and Minister for Sport, attended Marden Health Fair supported by the Marden Business Forum. Speaking after the event, Helen Grant MP said: "I was delighted to attend Marden Health Fair on Saturday. It was a ve...


14 MAR 2014

Helen Grant attends Celebrate Maidstone Gala Awards

On Friday 14th March, Helen Grant MP attended the Celebrate Maidstone Gala Awards at the Clive Emson Conference Centre, Kent County Show Ground. Celebrate Maidstone was set up in 2012 by a group of volunteers at Jubilee Church under the charity Restoring Hands to champion Maidstone's multitude of in...


25 JAN 2014

Helen Grant Visits KIXX Chinese Martial Arts

Helen Grant MP, Member of Parliament for Maidstone and the Weald, dropped in to visit KIXX Chinese Martial Arts in Maidstone on Saturday, and was given a tour of the club by Sifu Nigel Gilham. Founded in 2000, and based on Granville Road, KIXX Martial Arts Club is a training centre aimed at promoti...


25 JAN 2014

Helen Grant Visits Mote Squash Club

Helen Grant MP, Member of Parliament for Maidstone and The Weald, dropped in on Saturday to see Mote Squash Club host their Open Day. Founded in 1978, and based in Willow Way, Mote Squash Club was originally a section of The Mote Cricket Club. Including juniors, the club now boasts a membership of ...


10 JAN 2014

Helen Grant visits British Wireless for the Blind Fund

Helen Grant visits British Wireless for the Blind Fund Helen Grant MP, Member of Parliament for Maidstone and The Weald, dropped in to meet the team at British Wireless for the Blind Fund, and to hear about the wonderful work they do making audio equipment more accessible for people with sight loss...


10 JAN 2014

Helen Grant Skates in to see Kent Artistic Roller Dance Club

Helen Grant Skates in to see Kent Artistic Roller Dance Club Helen Grant MP, Member of Parliament for Maidstone and The Weald, visited the Kent Artistic Roller Dance Club on Friday night at the Maidstone YMCA, and met up with skating coach Jackie Terenzi. Ms Terenzi has coached artistic skating fo...


30 DEC 2013

Maidstone Churches Winter Shelter campaign gets going

Helen Grant MP, Member of Parliament for Maidstone and The Weald, helped to launch the Maidstone Churches Winter Shelter campaign last Monday, and joined volunteers in the United Reformed Church to offer her support on the opening night. The pilot project, designed to offer homeless people in Maids...


17 DEC 2013

Helen Grant announces winner of Christmas card competition

Helen Grant MP, Member of Parliament for Maidstone and The Weald, announced the winner of her festive Christmas card competition on Friday, and surprised the talented student by attending her school assembly to present her with a prize. Having invited children in primary schools across Maidstone an...


13 DEC 2013

Helen Grant visits Maidstone YMCA

Helen Grant MP, Member of Parliament for Maidstone and The Weald, visited Maidstone YMCA on Friday, and was given a tour of their facilities by Chief Executive Lynda Dale. Re-opened in 2011, the new YMCA leisure centre in Melrose Close, Loose, now incorporates a fitness suite, a gym, a dance studio...


12 DEC 2013

Helen Grant welcomes Ken Clarke to Maidstone and The Weald

Helen Grant MP, Member of Parliament for Maidstone and The Weald, was delighted to welcome Ken Clarke MP, Minister without Portolio in the Cabinet, to Maidstone and The Weald on Thursday 12th December for a special Christmas fundraising event. The yuletide evening, hosted by Helen Grant MP at Smith...


04 NOV 2013

Helen Enjoys First Successful Outreach Surgery

Helen holds regular surgeries throughout the year in both Central Maidstone and in Cranbrook for residents of The Weald. In addition to this, she decided to create a new type of 'Outreach Surgery', whereby she holds a surgery at a local community hub to engage further with all of Maidstone and The ...


22 OCT 2013

New Church Winter Shelter Initiative For Maidstone's Homeless: MP Helen To Be One Of The First Volunteers

Maidstone's provisions for homeless people in winter will see a brand new service starting this year, and Maidstone and The Weald MP, Helen Grant, is giving it her full support. Maidstone Churches' Winter Shelter offers a warm welcome overnight for homeless people in the coldest months (www.maidsto...


12 OCT 2013

New Tourism Minister, Helen Grant, Visits Kent Life

Helen Grant, MP for Maidstone and The Weald, joined the team from Visit Kent for her first trip to a popular tourist attraction in her new role as Tourism Minister at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). She joined Visit Kent Chief Executive, Sandra Matthews-Marsh and Chairman, ...


07 OCT 2013

Helen Launches Christmas Card Competition

Helen Grant MP, the Member of Parliament for Maidstone and The Weald, has launched a competition for primary school children to design her Christmas Card for 2013. Helen will shortly be writing to the primary schools in her constituency inviting them to participate. The competition is open to any ...


27 SEP 2013

Helen Visits Kent Institute Of Medicine And Surgery

Helen Grant MP, the Member of Parliament for Maidstone and The Weald, visited the construction site for the new Kent Institute of Medicine and Surgery in Maidstone on Friday 27th September to meet with developers. The site aims to bring innovative treatments to Kent and was opened to the public as ...


06 SEP 2013

Helen Grant Visits The Maidstone Mela

Helen Grant MP, the Member of Parliament for Maidstone and the Weald, visited the Maidstone Mela this weekend and met with a number of groups playing key roles in the event. With the aim of celebrating the cultural diversity of Maidstone, the Maidstone Mela is a festival featuring dancing, music, ...


28 AUG 2013

Helen Meets Tuition Academy

Helen Grant MP, the Member of Parliament for Maidstone and The Weald, dropped in on Tuition Academy in Maidstone on Wednesday, and met with Academy Manager, Debbie Lewis, to hear about the services the Academy offers. Originally established in Birmingham, Tuition Academy was created to support the ...


28 AUG 2013

Helen Grant Visits Kikiland

Helen Grant MP, the Member of Parliament for Maidstone and The Weald, visited Kikiland on Wednesday and took a tour of the new children's play centre. Based in The Mall in Maidstone, Kikiland was created by Karl and Rohini Emanuelsson as a place where children can have fun, develop their creativity...


19 JUL 2013

Helen Visits ADL

Helen Grant MP, Member of Parliament for Maidstone and The Weald, visited Automotive Distributors Limited (ADL) and had a tour of their offices in Marden, Kent. ADL is a specialist automotive parts company that currently exports to over 50 countries, and provides Asian and American car parts to aft...


19 JUL 2013

Helen Visits UKresettlement

Helen Grant MP, Member of Parliament for Maidstone and The Weald, dropped in to visit UK Resettlement and was given a tour of their new resettlement accommodation by Chief Executive, Dr. Albert Barnes. UKresettlement is a social enterprise which aims to support and inspire vulnerable young people a...


19 JUL 2013

Helen Grant Drops In On Scarab Sweepers

Helen Grant MP, Member of Parliament for Maidstone and The Weald, visited Scarab Sweepers on Friday for a tour and a briefing on the company's progress. Founded in 1979, Scarab Sweepers manufactures and supplies compact and truck-mounted road sweepers and street cleansing vehicles, with all product...


14 JUN 2013

Helen Visits Benenden School

Helen Grant MP, the Member of Parliament for Maidstone and The Weald, visited Benenden school on Friday, where she was treated to a tour of the campus followed by tea with the Deputy Head Teacher, Mrs. Price and Head of Government and Politics, Mrs. Harber. Helen was shown Benenden's new science ...


14 JUN 2013

Helen Meets With Sixth Formers From Cranbrook School And The High Weald Academy

Helen Grant MP, the Member of Parliament for Maidstone and The Weald, visited Cranbrook School on Friday for a question and answer session with sixth form students from Cranbrook School and The High Weald Academy. Helen opened the session with a slide show, including some photographs from her perso...


08 JUN 2013

Helen Opens Cobtree Manor Park

Helen Grant MP, the Member of Parliament for Maidstone and The Weald joined Maidstone Councillor, John Wilson, on Saturday to unveil Phase Two of the Cobtree Manor Park Project. The Cobtree Manor Park Project aims to encourage greater public use of the park by providing facilities for all the fam...


08 JUN 2013

Helen Meets Disabled Christians' Fellowship

Helen Grant MP, the Member of Parliament for Maidstone and The Weald, visited Allington Baptist Church on Saturday to speak to the Disabled Christians' Fellowship in Maidstone. Starting in Bristol in 1959, the disabled Christians' Fellowship (DCF) is a cross-denomination group, providing spiritua...


08 JUN 2013

Helen Opens Maidstone Mencap's Summer Fayre

Helen Grant MP, the Member of Parliament for Maidstone and The Weald, opened Maidstone Mencap's Summer Fayre on Saturday and accepted a cheque for £4,000 from Cobtree Scottish Country Dance Group on behalf of the charity. Established in 1946, Mencap is now the UK's leading learning disability...


08 JUN 2013

Helen Visits Sissinghurst Scouts

Helen Grant MP, the Member of Parliament for Maidstone and The Weald, met with Sissinghurst Scouts on Saturday to officially open their 2013 Project – a 'Sensory Perception Room' and garden. She visited Cranbrook's Hartley House Residential Care Home where the Scouts' 2012 project 'Freda Gard...


10 MAY 2013

Helen Visits The Blackthorn Trust

Helen Grant MP, the Member of Parliament for Maidstone and The Weald, visited the Blackthorn Trust on Friday, and was given a tour by its Chief Executive, Jan Prior.The Blackthorn Trust was founded in 1986 and provides a supportive environment for people suffering from long-term mental and physical ...


10 MAY 2013

Helen Celebrates Maidstone's Unsung Heroes

Helen Grant MP, the Member of Parliament for Maidstone and the Weald, attended an event on Friday to celebrate some of Maidstone's unsung heroes.The second annual 'Celebrate Maidstone' Gala Dinner was held at the Mercure Hotel in Hollingbourne, Maidstone. Its aim was to reward local unsung h...


10 MAY 2013

Helen Celebrates Claygate's Growth

Helen Grant MP, the Member of Parliament for Maidstone and the Weald, was invited to open a new warehouse for bathroom product wholesaler, Claygate Distribution, in her constituency on Friday. At a packed event in Marden, at the Pattenden Lane Industrial Estate, Helen cut the ribbon to mark the con...


15 MAR 2013

Helen Grant Celebrates Red Nose Day With Fusion

Helen Grant MP, Member of Parliament for Maidstone and the Weald, celebrated Red Nose Day by visiting Fusion Healthy Living Centre in Maidstone and meeting with Mike Fitzgerald, Chairman of Trustees. The Healthy Living Centre was opened in September 2003, having started life in 1993 as a Family Cir...


15 MAR 2013

Helen Visits Tomorrow's People

Helen Grant MP, Member of Parliament for Maidstone, dropped in to visit the unemployment charity Tomorrow's People on Friday. Tomorrow's People works to provide support to adults and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds with finding and keeping a job.  Ultimately, the overarching missio...


15 MAR 2013

Helen Visits The Princess Project

Helen Grant MP, Member of Parliament for Maidstone and the Weald, visited the Princess Project in Maidstone on Friday, where she was given an update on the group's work by Project Leader, Emma Tanner. The Princess Project is a Maidstone-based organisation which seeks to provide support for new moth...


14 MAR 2013

Helen Grant Questions Maidstone NHS Over Missed Target

Helen Grant MP, Member of Parliament for Maidstone and The Weald, has expressed her concern that Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust is on course to be fined £1.5 million due to its inability to meet an important target. After being set an annual limit expiring in March of forty-nine...


01 MAR 2013

Helen Grant Visits Linton Park School

Helen Grant MP, Member of Parliament for Maidstone and The Weald, visited Linton Park School on Friday, and was given a tour of their new Primary Department by Head of Primary, Kate Edwards. The new department incorporates the latest educational technology such as interactive whiteboards and a virt...


01 MAR 2013

Helen Grant Opens Voluntary Action Maidstone Conference

Helen Grant MP, Member of Parliament for Maidstone and The Weald, opened Maidstone's 4th annual Voluntary and Community Sector Conference on Friday. The Conference focussed on how social enterprise is transforming the voluntary, charity and business sectors, with delegates hearing from inspirationa...


08 FEB 2013

Helen Discusses Politics With Students From Invicta Grammar School

Helen Grant MP, the Member of Parliament for Maidstone and The Weald, paid a visit to Invicta Grammar School on Friday 08th February 2013 to meet with students from the school and its partner school in Italy to discuss the theme of democracy. The talk was in line with the school's participation in ...


25 JAN 2013

Helen Visits Young Kent

Helen Grant MP, Member of Parliament for Maidstone and The Weald, dropped in to visit Young Kent on Friday, and was given a tour by new Chief Executive, Eve Johnson, and Chairman, Rupert Allinson. Young Kent was formed in 2012 following the merger of Kent Youth and Kent Council for Voluntary Yout...


18 JAN 2013

Helen Visits Cranbrook School

Helen Grant MP, Member of Parliament for Maidstone and The Weald, visited Cranbrook School in Cranbrook on Friday.  She met with the new Head Teacher, John Weeds, and the Chairman of Governors, Robin Holliday, to discuss the role of the school in the community, and to see how she can support ...


15 DEC 2012

A Cranbrook Christmas Carol

Community spirit reigns supreme in Cranbrook this Christmas time. From their impressive array of independent retailers, to Union Mill and the Cathedral of the Weald, there is little that isn't unique in Cranbrook. Local MP Helen Grant visited the Cranbrook Business Association's Christmas Fayre las...


23 NOV 2012

Boxing Clever at Operation Yuletide

Local MP Helen Grant last week visited the High Weald Academy to help with the annual Operation Yuletide, now in its sixth year. Organised by Ann Cook, Operation Yuletide has sent countless numbers of packages onto our military personnel on the front line in Afghanistan for Christmas. Ably supporte...


23 NOV 2012

Mencap Christmas Bazaar at Cobtree

Maidstone and the Weald MP Helen Grant last Saturday attended Maidstone Mencap's Christmas Bazaar at Cobtree Hall, Mote Park. This annual event aims to raise money for this much cherished charity, and it is enjoyed every year by children and parents alike. Mencap is the leading voice in learning d...


16 NOV 2012

Right Royal Success in Royal Star Shopping Centre

Christmas has come early to the Royal Star and Maidstone shoppers. The festively decorated Centre has had an influx of new stores, with one shop recently opening, two more in the next three weeks and a further one just before Christmas. The independent arcade is a haven for discerning shoppers and ...


12 OCT 2012

MP Helen Celebrates 21st Birthday of Tesco Schools Voucher Scheme

Maidstone and the Weald MP, Helen Grant, joined the shoppers of Tesco's Tovil branch last Friday to mark a very special anniversary. In 21 years Tesco's for Schools and Clubs has raised an incredible £185 million for vital equipment. Helen was delighted that in this last year 100 schools in t...


14 SEP 2012

And the Academy Award Goes to...

The best results in history. That is what the High Weald Academy were able to trumpet at their opening ceremony last week. Maidstone and the Weald MP Helen Grant was there to cut the ribbon at what is one of the county's newest Academies, whose GCSE and A-level results were their best to date. The ...


14 SEP 2012

Changing the Face of Local Sport

Jumpers for goalposts conjures a very important image for most football fans. Real grassroots stuff. And West Farleigh Sports Club can consider themselves the next best thing. Local MP Helen Grant unveiled their long awaited and much deserved new sports changing facility last Friday. Founded in 191...


14 SEP 2012

Top Job in Maidstone

'Staff wanted' posters – a welcome sight anywhere in these tough times. Last week Maidstone Borough Council and Golding Homes got together to 'Get Maidstone Working'. It was a Jobs Fair that brought together employers and training providers in Maidstone's Town Hall to allow local unemployed pe...


28 AUG 2012

Search Begins for 'Digital Hero' in Maidstone and the Weald

Helen Grant MP backs TalkTalk's Digital Heroes Awards £65,000 available for 12 projects in 12 regions across the UK New award for children and young people Helen Grant MP is calling for local groups to enter the TalkTalk Digital Heroes Awards 2012, a unique competition that recognises a...


06 AUG 2012

Helen Meets Kent Savers

Maidstone and the Weald MP, Helen Grant, met the team at Kent Savers during her constituency visits in early August to learn how credit union benefits individuals and communities. Based in the Maidstone Community Support Centre, Kent Savers have been operating in the County Town for just over two y...


06 AUG 2012

Local MP Helen celebrates Crossroads Care

Following an invitation from the Chair of Trustees of Crossroads Care West Kent, local MP Helen Grant visited their offices to find out more about the invaluable work of carers who dedicate their time to look after loved ones who cannot look after themselves. The team of trained staff and volunteer...


06 AUG 2012

Helen Currying Favour in Maidstone

Maidstone and the Weald MP, Helen Grant, cooked up a curry when she visited a local Indian restaurant to present a Parliamentary prize to the owner. Braving a monsoon-like torrential downpour last Monday, Helen met with Mitu Chowdhury, a long-standing and successful Maidstone businessman, who owns ...


20 JUL 2012

Local MP Helen supports initiative to address alcohol abuse

Maidstone and the Weald MP, Helen Grant, has given full support to a Maidstone Town Centre Management initiative, which hopes to help address issues of alcohol abuse in the County Town. Innovative research undertaken by the Maidstone Town Centre Management team, based on the Urban Blue bus on Frida...


20 JUL 2012

MP’s Maidstone Mile

Maidstone and the Weald MP, Helen Grant, put her best foot forward as she joined a host of competitors to run the Maidstone Mile last Friday, in support of the Heart of Kent Hospice. In a fitting end to Maidstone's festivities celebrating the Olympic Torch relay visit, the Maidstone Mile was the fi...


19 JUL 2012

Helen Opens Hospice Shop

The Member of Parliament for Maidstone and the Weald, Helen Grant MP, met the patron, trustees, staff and volunteers of the Heart of Kent Hospice, when she officially opened the latest shop for the charity last Thursday in King Street, Maidstone. Funded by a gratefully received legacy, the shop has...


14 JUL 2012

MP Helen welcomed the Stones Home!

Maidstone and the Weald MP, Helen Grant, met players past and present, together with the management and supporters of Maidstone United FC, as they welcomed the Stones Home to the County Town on Saturday. Almost 2,230 supporters joined Helen as they packed into the new ground in Maidstone to see the...


06 JUL 2012

Helen Opens School Extension

It seemed as if the whole village had turned out to meet Maidstone and the Weald MP, Helen Grant, as they packed into the new hall at Frittenden Church of England Primary School, last Friday. Helen was invited to officially open the new school hall, library and IT facilities, housed in a magnificen...


29 JUN 2012

MP Helen's Question Time!

"Have you got David Cameron's telephone number?" That was one of the questions asked of the Maidstone and the Weald MP, Helen Grant, when she met staff and children at Barming Primary School last Friday. Helen received numerous letters from the children at Barming Primary School as part of the Send...


27 JUN 2012

Maidstone Teenager Named 'Champion of Champions' in Schools Fishing Award

Freddie Lee Turner, 14, from Bower Grove School in Maidstone, won the Gold Award in the inaugural Fishing for Schools Awards at the Houses of Parliament, attended by local MP Helen Grant, and organised by the Countryside Alliance Foundation The most proficient young anglers in Britain were honoured...


24 JUN 2012

Helen applauds Parks for People Project

Maidstone and the Weald MP, Helen Grant, applauded the work of Maidstone Borough Council Members and officers, undertaken during the Mote Park Restoration Project, when she attended the official opening of the facility last Sunday. Maidstone's popular Mote Park has undergone a significant transform...


22 JUN 2012

Helen praises OU students

Maidstone and the Weald MP, Helen Grant, was invited to present Open University certificates to twenty nine Sixth Form students last Friday, before touring the newly completed prestigious Sixth Form study and teaching facilities. The Year 12 and 13 MGGS students have been studying OU modules throug...


16 JUN 2012

MP Supports Sunflower Power

Maidstone and the Weald MP, Helen Grant, met staff and local children when she visited the B&Q DIY store in Maidstone last Saturday, to support the store's Sunflower plant "giveaway" promotion and Guinness World Record Attempt. As part of a national initiative to encourage children to take an a...


16 JUN 2012

Helen visits the Sissinghurst Flower Show

Maidstone and the Weald MP, Helen Grant, met friends and villagers once again when she paid a visit the annual Sissinghurst Flower Show last Saturday. On a bright but breezy spring afternoon, Helen and her husband Simon, were surrounded by flora, vegetables and pastries in abundance at the annual s...


16 JUN 2012

MP Helen Opens Maidstone MENCAP Summer Fair

Honorary Vice-President of the Maidstone Mencap Trust, Maidstone and the Weald MP, Helen Grant, officially opened the Maidstone Mencap Summer Fair, held last Saturday in Mote Park Maidstone Mencap is based at Mote Park's Cobtree Hall and the annual Summer Fair was held in an adjacent field. With so...


16 JUN 2012

A sign of the times for Yalding

It was a sign of the times when Maidstone and the Weald MP, Helen Grant, met friends and villagers, as she joined in the celebrations last Saturday, to unveil the new village sign at Yalding. To commemorate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, a new village sign had been commissioned by Yalding Parish Coun...


18 MAY 2012

MP Helen Opens Trinity's New Building

Maidstone and the Weald MP, Helen Grant, was greeted with a warming song of welcome by the children, as she arrived to officially open the new building for the Trinity Pre-School in Maidstone last Friday. Children aged between two and a half and four and a half years old, lined up with Trinity Pre-...


04 MAY 2012

MP Helen Visits "Homely" School!

Maidstone and the Weald MP, Helen Grant, met staff and pupils when she visited Brunswick House Primary School in Maidstone last Friday 4 May and was full of praise for all concerned. Children from Year 6 at Brunswick House Primary School were the first children to visit Helen at the Houses of Parli...


27 APR 2012

MP Helen Helps Catch 22

Maidstone and the Weald MP, Helen Grant, is encouraging students to help young people and have great fun at the same time, by volunteering for the Catch 22 charity . Catch 22 have been contracted to deliver a programme for 16 year olds in Maidstone called "Mix it Up", which is part of the National ...


23 MAR 2012

Helen Supports Fantastic Farmer's Market

Maidstone and the Weald MP, Helen Grant, met with local farmers, when she visited the Farmers Market in the Royal Star Shopping Arcade, last Friday. At the invitation of the Royal Star Arcade, local farmers promoted the first Farmer's Market to be held in the shopping centre for many years. Local M...


23 MAR 2012

Helen Helps Tackle Domestic Abuse

Maidstone and the Weald MP, Helen Grant, met professionals working to address issues relating to domestic abuse, as well as victims, when she gave the Keynote speech at the launch of K-DASH in Maidstone last Friday. K-DASH (Kent Domestic Abuse Support And Help), formally the Women's Support Service...


23 MAR 2012

Local MP Opens the New-Look Maidstone Museum

Local MP Helen Grant, together with the Mayor of Maidstone, Cllr Brian Mortimer, officially opened the new East Wing extension and Bentlif Gallery, of the Maidstone Museum last Friday. The East Wing extension has created two easily accessible education rooms. The first, for visiting school-parties,...


16 MAR 2012

Kent activists tell Helen Grant MP about physical health concerns of people with mental illness

Volunteer activists for the charity Rethink Mental Illness met with Helen Grant, MP for Maidstone and The Weald, today (Friday 16 March) to raise concerns that the physical health needs of local people with a mental illness are being neglected. The activists are concerned that there is not enough a...


14 MAR 2012

Champagne moment for Herbert Hall sparkling wine

It was a champagne moment for Nick Hall of Herbert Hall fine wines as the House of Commons announced that it would include his English 'Traditional Method' sparkling wine on their lists throughout the months of May and June, and hopefully beyond. After an impressive visit to Nick's vineyard, and kn...


03 FEB 2012

Students in round table talks with MP!

Sixth Form students studying at the St Augustine Academy in Maidstone, engaged in round table talks last Friday, with the Member of Parliament for Maidstone and the Weald, Helen Grant MP. Ever intent upon engaging young people in politics, Helen visited the St Augustine Academy and spent some quali...


27 JAN 2012

MP speaks to Maidstone Older People's Forum

Maidstone and the Weald MP, Helen Grant (Con), met numerous senior citizens when she spoke at a meeting of the Maidstone Older People's Forum, last Friday. In a packed Hazlitt Theatre Exchange Studio, members of the Maidstone Older People's Forum were joined by some local councillors, as they enjoy...


20 JAN 2012

Helen Grant, MP, supports Maidstone 'Big Energy Week' event

Local MP Helen Grant took part in a special event run by Citizens Advice held at the Gateway office of Maidstone Borough Council on 20 January. Part of the nationwide 'Big Energy Week' programme, the event was designed to provide hands-on help for people to cut their fuel bills and get the best dea...


06 JAN 2012

School's Speech Day leaves local MP speechless

Friday 6th January 2012, Maidstone, Kent: Local MP for Maidstone and the Weald (Con), Helen Grant, visited Maidstone Grammar School for Girls for their Sixth Form Speech Day. The occasion marked the return of A-Level students who sat exams last year, but were returning to receive their much deserved...


21 DEC 2011

MP Meets Skateboard and Break-dance Entrepreneurs

Helen Grant, Member of Parliament for Maidstone and the Weald, met two budding young entrepreneurs when she visited the Trinity Foyer Project in Maidstone today. Trinity Foyer is a charitable organisation which undertakes remarkable work with young single homeless people aged 16-24 who have low to ...


21 DEC 2011

MP Hears Maidstone’s "Good News"

Maidstone and the Weald MP, Helen Grant, was encouraged by hearing good news about the County Town, when she attended an informal lunch meeting of local business leaders today. Hosted by Maidstone's Town Centre Manager, Bill Moss, in the boardroom of the Maidstone Town Centre Management, Helen met ...


28 NOV 2011

Preventing Forced Marriage in the UK

Speaking in Parliament on the 3rd anniversary of the Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act, Helen Grant MP (Maidstone & the Weald), urged caution in response to calls for the offence to be criminalised. She said "Forced Marriage is a terrible offence which crushes self-esteem and is often acco...


26 NOV 2011

Maidstone Mencap's Bazaar Christmas

Local MP Helen Grant last weekend attended Maidstone Mencap's Christmas Bazaar at Cobtree Hall; an annual event aimed to raising money for this much cherished local charity, and a great day out for children and their families. Mencap is the leading voice in learning disabilities. Everything they ...


25 NOV 2011

Operation Yuletide packs a punch

Local MP Helen Grant last week visited Angley School to help with the annual Operation Yuletide. Organised by the mother of one of our operational army servicemen, Operation Yuletide sends countless numbers of packages onto our military personnel in Afghanistan for Christmas. Ably supported by the ...


25 NOV 2011

MP visits Maidstone's Cornwallis Academy

It was back to school for Helen last week as she met students studying politics and sociology at Maidstone's Cornwallis Academy. They had clearly done their homework when they quizzed the Member of Parliament for Maidstone and the Weald. Local MP Helen visited Cornwallis Academy last Friday and spe...


02 NOV 2011

Local MP talks trains with Transport Minister

Last week MP for Maidstone and the Weald, Helen Grant, met with Transport Minister Norman Baker. Mrs Grant raised a number of issues on behalf of the many commuters and rail users in her constituency including, rail fares, ticket office closures, winter resilience and franchise agreements. First on...


21 OCT 2011

Helen Meets The Heroes!

Maidstone and the Weald MP, Helen Grant, met a huge selection of heroes when she visited Maidstone's Northborough Junior School last Friday, to support them as they participated in the first National Heroes Day. Held to coincide with Trafalgar Day on 21st October, National Heroes Day encourages c...


21 OCT 2011

MP Helen Visits Army Recruitment Team

Maidstone and the Weald MP, Helen Grant, visited the Army Recruitment Team in Maidstone last Friday, to find out more about the many career opportunities that the Army has to offer. As Vice Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Armed Forces, Army Division, as well as her eldest son,...


15 OCT 2011

Invicta Grammar School

Maidstone and the Weald MP, Helen Grant, met with pupils and staff from the Kopernikus Gymansium in Rheine, Germany, when she attended Invicta Grammar School's special celebrations last Saturday. Helen, together with the Mayor and Mayoress of Maidstone, joined Invicta Grammar School, Maidstone, as ...


07 OCT 2011

MP Helen applauds school voucher scheme

Maidstone and the Weald MP, Helen Grant, joined Tesco staff to present free equipment to local school children, at the Tesco store in Tovil, Maidstone, last Friday. For nineteen years, the Tesco voucher collection promotions have provided UK schools with access to some 4 million free pieces of equi...


16 SEP 2011

Addressing the class

It was back to school for Helen Grant, Member of Parliament for Maidstone and the Weald, as she visited Maidstone Grammar School last Friday. Helen officially opened the purpose-built Sixth Form Common Room, before presenting a host of well-deserved awards to students at the annual Senior Speech Day...


14 SEP 2011

Helen chairs trains forum

Last week MP for Maidstone and the Weald, Helen Grant, chaired a meeting between Kent MPs, Network Rail and Southeastern. Organised by Helen and Southeastern, the meeting gave both Network Rail and Southeastern a chance to update MPs on the infrastructure work carried about by the organisations to ...


13 SEP 2011

On the up, Broadband in Maidstone

Local Member of Parliament Helen Grant welcomed BT's announcement that Maidstone was to get its share of the company's £2.5 billion roll-out of fibre broadband. It will come as great news to many families in Maidstone that they will now have access to super-fast broadband. Not only will this ...


18 JUL 2011

Supporting Fruit Growers

Today local MP Helen Grant, Secretary of the Associate Parliamentary British Fruit Industry Group, attended a lunch event to discuss issues currently affecting the fruit industry. There were many people in attendance, including other MPs, Peers and representatives of fruit growers and sellers. Seve...


16 JUL 2011

Showing the best of Kent

Last week Maidstone and the Weald MP Helen Grant spent the afternoon at the Kent Show, accompanied by local Councillor Richard Lusty. Although the weather was not at its best, the Show was teeming with local residents and many of Kent's farmers. Helen took the opportunity to meet as many producers ...


01 JUL 2011

A Proud Day For MP Helen

It was one of the proudest days of her life, for Maidstone and the Weald MP Helen Grant, with her family, watched eldest son Ben's passing out parade as a fully trained Royal Marine Commando in Lympstone, Devon last Friday, July 1st. Ben Grant had been undergoing what is said by many to be the m...


24 JUN 2011

Localism in Cranbrook

Last week Cranbrook's MP Helen Grant welcomed neighbouring MP and Minister of State for Decentralisation, Dr Greg Clark, to Vestry Hall in Cranbrook for an open meeting to discuss Localism. Vestry Hall was filled with local residents, where most aspects of the Coalition Government's Localism agenda...


20 JUN 2011

Big Society supports voluntary sector in Maidstone and the Weald

Helen Grant MP has welcomed the news that money from the Government's Big Society Transition Fund will support the voluntary sector in Maidstone and the Weald. The funding, part of the third wave of payouts from the £107 million Transition Fund, is being paid out to Women's Support Service, an...


11 JUN 2011

Helen Opens Maidstone Mencap Sumer Fayre

Maidstone and the Weald MP, Helen Grant, officially opened the Maidstone Mencap Summer last Saturday 11 June, with the event proving to be one of the most successful ever! Maidstone Mencap is based at Mote Park's Cobtree Hall and the Summer Fayre was held in an adjacent field. All the fun of the fa...


10 JUN 2011

VIP visit

Maidstone and the Weald MP, Helen Grant, joined other VIPs as members of CALARA met in the newly-refurbished Coxheath Village Hall, last Friday. In a packed village hall, members of the Coxheath & Loose Active Retirement Association (CALARA), were joined by the Mayor of Maidstone, Cllr Brian Mo...


03 JUN 2011

Salvation Army Concert Hits The Right Note

Maidstone and the Weald MP, Helen Grant, attended a special concert at the Salvation Army citadel in Union Street, Maidstone, last Friday evening. Together with the Mayor and Mayoress of Maidstone, Cllr Brian and Dianne Mortimer, Helen enjoyed an evening of music and entertainment provided by The A...


03 JUN 2011

Friday People

Maidstone and the Weald MP, Helen Grant, visited Friday People today in their Mill Street offices to meet young jobseekers who are being employed and trained by the Kent-based charity. With one in five young people unable to find work, Helen Grant was impressed to hear how this new charity has made...


20 MAY 2011

Helen Supports Mental Health Event

Maidstone and the Weald MP, Helen Grant, supported a networking forum last Friday, when she visited a Mental Health Event held at the Blackthorn Trust in Maidstone. Jointly organised by Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Borough Councils, the event for mental health professionals followed on from a Join...


08 MAY 2011

Bedgebury Walk to Help Beat Blood Cancers

Local MP Helen Grant last week joined at least 50 other walkers to start the five kilometre Forget Me Not charity walk through Bedgebury Forest in aid of Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research. There are Forget Me Not walks all over the UK every year, each one trying to raise money to beat blood cancers. ...


27 APR 2011

Rallying for Rail

Local Member of Parliament for Maidstone and the Weald, Helen Grant, this week met senior managers from Southeastern, including Chief Executive Charles Horton. This is part of Helen's ongoing campaign to improve train services for people throughout her constituency, and good progress was made at th...


15 APR 2011

Model Citizens

Maidstone and the Weald MP, Helen Grant, met model citizens when she visited Oakwood Park Grammar School in Maidstone and engaged in lively debate with Sixth Form students. Helen was given an extensive and informative guided tour of the school's facilities by Head Boy, Dan Crittenden, who ably answ...


15 APR 2011

Lawyer turned MP visits prisons

Former family lawyer of some twenty years and serving on the Justice Committee, Maidstone and the Weald MP, Helen Grant, is passionate about justice and recently visited two of the regions prisons to find out for herself, what is being done to help rehabilitate offenders. Helen fully appreciates th...


12 APR 2011

MP Joins the Gang

Maidstone and the Weald MP Helen Grant attended the Maidstone Scout Gang Show last Wednesday 12th April, a variety show performed by local Scouts at the Hazlitt Theatre Arts Centre, Maidstone. The first Scout Gang Show was performed in London during 1932, and The Maidstone Gang Show has been runnin...


07 APR 2011

Enterprise Week

Maidstone and the Weald MP, Helen Grant, found herself being "grilled" by Year Six pupils when she visited Maidstone's West Borough School last Thursday, as part of the school's Enterprise Week. During Enterprise Week, numerous people from various walks of life came to the school to talk and answer...


01 APR 2011

Helen Supports Help For Heroes

Maidstone and the Weald MP, Helen Grant, dropped in last Friday to lend her support to the valiant efforts of the Invicta Grammar School pupils who were fundraising in aid of the Help For Heroes charity. The students had been involved in a whole range of exciting fundraising activities throughout t...


25 MAR 2011

Broadband Boost for the Weald

Cranbrook and Sissinghurst Parish Council are teaming up with the Weald Business Association to try to bring high speed broadband to the Wealden area. They will be working together, and alongside the local community, to lobby Kent County Council into funding the necessary infrastructure work. This ...


18 MAR 2011

Cornwallis Academy

Maidstone and the Weald MP Helen Grant, visited the Cornwallis Academy in Linton to see how the exciting construction of new classrooms and study facilities are progressing at the school. Construction work on the state-of-the art buildings at Hubbards Lane in Linton, commenced two years ago, with t...


18 MAR 2011

Local MP Starts Wacky Races For Red Nose Day

Maidstone and the Weald MP Helen Grant marked the beginning of Red Nose Day by starting a charity event in the The Mall shopping centre. The event was organised by Maidstone Solicitors Whitehead Monckton, who have a long history of charitable work. The event was a 20km endurance race between 2 poin...


18 MAR 2011

Maidstone Back on Track

Maidstone and the Weald MP Helen Grant welcomed Southeastern's announcement of a new High Speed service from Maidstone West to St Pancras International, which is to come into service at the next timetable change on 22 May. The new service will consist of three departures from Maidstone West in the ...


11 MAR 2011

Supporting the tank team

Maidstone and the Weald MP, Helen Grant, visited the Rugmer Tank Project last week, to learn of the innovative work being undertaken in restoring tanks and other historic military vehicles, by people serving a Community Payback sentence. Based near Yalding, since 2009 the project provides a facilit...


18 FEB 2011

Helen Helps Hospice

Following her surgery in Cranbrook on Friday the Member of Parliament for Maidstone and the Weald, Helen Grant, dropped into the Hospice in the Weald fundraising shops to praise and encourage the staff in their endeavours for the charity, and to see and hear for herself how the fundraising was going...


11 FEB 2011

MP "Inspired" by Junior youngsters!

Member of Parliament for Maidstone and the Weald, Helen Grant, was inspired by the children of Loose Junior School during her visit on Friday. Following an invitation from Headteacher Mrs Jay Pye, Helen started her visit by addressing children and teachers in a packed school hall. There followed an...


08 FEB 2011

Network Rail Meet Kent MPs

Maidstone and the Weald MP Helen Grant organised a meeting between Kent MPs and Network Rail which took place yesterday. Dave Ward, Kent Route Director at Network Rail, outlined the improvements that Network Rail has committed to provide, subject to funding approval. This includes anti-ice systems b...


05 FEB 2011

MP Helen Backs Stones Campaign

The MP for Maidstone and The Weald, Helen Grant, helped kick off the "Bring The Stones Home" campaign, when she met the team and board of Directors on Saturday, prior to Maidstone United's clash with Wealdstone FC. Having learned of the innovative plans to build a brand new £1.6 million stadi...


01 FEB 2011

Drama at Westminster!

 Campaign! is a project working with young disabled people throughout South East, including Maidstone and the Weald, and aims to celebrate international collaboration between disabled young people as they work together to build campaigns to raise awareness on issues that affect them in their re...


17 JAN 2011

State Boarding Schools Conference, Cranbrook

The Head teachers of England’s state boarding schools gathered together at Cranbrook School this weekend to attend their annual conference and AGM organised by the State Boarding Schools Association (SBSA). Headteacher Angela Daley invited Cranbrook’s MP Helen Grant to address the audie...


14 JAN 2011

Tovil Action Group gets a boost

Local Member of Parliament for Maidstone and the Weald Helen Grant met with members of the Tovil Action Group, who are campaigning to protect their neighbourhood from the imposition of a new recycling plant in the area. Their campaign recently proved successful when the planning application for the...


14 JAN 2011

West Farleigh Dandelion Children win awards

Maidstone & The Weald MP Helen Grant, visited the West Farleigh-based Dandelion Time project last Friday 14th January, to present achievement awards to 7-16 year old young people, with serious emotional and behavioural difficulties. Having previously visited the project, Helen was delighted to ...



Helen's column

21 SEP 2017

New Housing Consultation

Kent Messenger Column - 21-09-17  Readers will surely be aware of the ongoing spat over Maidstone's emerging local plan, driving both local MPs to seek intervention by the Secretary of State. It...


14 SEP 2017

EU (Withdrawal) Bill/Myanmar

Kent Messenger Column - 14-09-17  My attentions this week are divided between home and away; Here in the UK we move toward Brexit with much progress on The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill. The...


07 SEP 2017

Anyone for Fundraising?

Kent Messenger Column 07-09-17 The ingredients for a good fundraising event are not complicated but you sometimes need a bit of good fortune for the recipe to come together at the designated moment;...


31 AUG 2017

Heritage Lottery Fund

Kent Messenger Column - 31-08-17  The haunting vision of deep red porcelain poppies cascading down the cold grey walls of the Tower of London was one of the most poignant moments of my time as a...


24 AUG 2017

Fairer energy prices

Kent Messenger Column - 24-08-17 Hands up if you are this person; The last time you moved house you adopted the gas and electricity supplier already in place there, haven't changed since, and your...


17 AUG 2017

National Citizens Service

Kent Messenger Column - 17-08-17 Dragons' Den panellists conjure a vision of beasts of business inflicting savage critiques upon aspiring entrepreneurs. Exhaling fire isn't my thing really but...


10 AUG 2017

Sponsorship in women's sport

Kent Messenger Column - 10-08-17  I welcomed the recent focus on the BBC's gender pay gap, but the issue spreads much more widely than on-screen media talent; a current case-in-point being...


03 AUG 2017

Cancer Statistics

Kent Messenger Column 03-08-17 Around this time last year I learned that my husband had prostate cancer. As you might expect it had a marked effect upon my whole family; it also realigned my own...


27 JUL 2017

Southeastern Franchise

Kent Messenger Column - 27-07-17  Since commencing my work as a Parliamentary Candidate, and then MP for Maidstone and the Weald almost 10 years ago, campaigning to improve commuter train services...


20 JUL 2017

Maidstone Mela

Kent Messenger Column - 20-07-17  Perhaps I am becoming wiser with the years, or maybe it is an emerging sign-of-our-times, but the importance of community has never been more prominent in my...


13 JUL 2017

Vehicle emissions

Kent Messenger Column - 13-07-17  Last November I raised serious concerns about vehicle emissions with the planning inspector at Maidstone's local plan public hearings. The core of my anxiety was...


06 JUL 2017

'Go Train'

Kent Messenger Column - 06-07-17 There are more people now in work than ever before, unemployment has remained at its lowest rate for eleven years, women in employment has reached a record rate and...


29 JUN 2017

Thank you for re-electing me

Kent Messenger Column - 29-06-17  I am deeply honoured and proud to have been returned as your MP following the recent General Election on 8th June. I am also grateful to the Editor of the Kent...


20 APR 2017

General Election 8th June 2017

Kent Messenger Column - 20-04-17  Ever since the tumultuous events that followed the referendum result less than 10 months ago it has been my strong view that our country needed stability and...


13 APR 2017

Syrian sarin gas attack

Kent Messenger Column - 13-04-17 In August 2013 over 1400 people are reported to have died, including 426 children, when Sarin gas was used against the people of Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus in...


06 APR 2017

Fant Farm

Kent Messenger Column – 06-04-17 Fant Farm. For local people two words synonymous with a priceless Medway valley view and a haven for nature; a vital buffer between the urban and the rural in our...


30 MAR 2017

Westminster Attack

Kent Messenger Column - 30-03-17 The appalling attack in Westminster last Wednesday was a sick homage to nihilism by a deranged and lost soul. I don't see religion being involved here, just plain...


23 MAR 2017

Howard Interns: a week in British Politics

Kent Messenger Column - 24-03-17 Taylor and Mirabella present Helen with a gift depicting Howard University In last week's column I heralded the arrival of two young female politics students from...


16 MAR 2017

Howard mini-internships

Kent Messenger Column - 16-03-17 As I write (Monday 13th) MPs and Peers are today preparing to cast their historic final votes to trigger Brexit. For me this is not goodbye Europe, it is all about...


09 MAR 2017

Brexit and The Lords

Kent Messenger Column - 09-03-17 The House of Lords is in the headlights once again, this time on two separate fronts. Our Upper Chamber is the subject of a current BBC2 documentary 'Meet the Lords',...


03 MAR 2017

Fair School Funding For All

Kent Messenger Column - 03-03-17 Schooling is a subject which evokes great passion and interest. The Prime Minister has been clear that education is a critical component of her plan to drive up...


24 FEB 2017

Calling time on the abuse of MPs

Kent Messenger Column - 24-02-17  When I started thinking about standing for Parliament, an experienced MP and friend told me 'it's the roughest toughest career in the world and you will need your...


17 FEB 2017

National Cyber Security Centre

Kent Messenger Column – 17-02-17 The digital revolution has been undeniably transformational, bringing endless opportunities through vast social and economic change. Like all great revolutions...


10 FEB 2017

Time we coughed-up for our NHS?

Kent Messenger Column - 10-02-17  This paper previously reported of West Kent Clinical Commissioning group's (WKCCG) decision to cease non-urgent operations until the new financial year. Last week,...


03 FEB 2017

Trump: the first 10 days

Kent Messenger Column - 03-02-17  Last week I suggested his first 100 days would be critical, but with just 10 under his belt we may already know all we need about Trump. His Executive Order...


27 JAN 2017

Trump: the first days

Kent Messenger Column - 27-01-17 The inauguration's over and here in the UK we must now get to grips with an 'America First' term of office. The trouble I'm having in assessing Mr Trump's true...


20 JAN 2017

Brexit: Clarity will defeat uncertainty

Kent Messenger Column - 20-01-17  It is now well over 6 months since the British people took the decision to leave the European Union. Setting aside the disgraceful campaigning on both sides, the...


13 JAN 2017

Mental Health

Kent Messenger Column - 13-01-17  The last time I talked to Theresa May as Home Secretary was in April last year when she visited Maidstone & Mid Kent Mind's wellbeing centre in College Road. She...


09 JAN 2017

No way to run a railway

Kent Messenger Column - 06-01-17 January fare increases edge annual London season tickets toward £5,000 for commuters from Maidstone & The Weald, rubbing salt into pre-Christmas wounds from poor...


30 DEC 2016

Choices

Kent Messenger Column - 30-12-16  A few weeks back I attended an important 20th Anniversary event in Maidstone. It was a fundraiser and a celebration for an organisation called Choices; no, not the...


23 DEC 2016

Contact at Christmas

Kent Messenger Column - 23-12-16  Most of us would agree that Christmas is an extra special time for children, but sadly not for all of them. In the months and weeks leading up to the big day there...


16 DEC 2016

Maidstone Churches Winter Shelter

Kent Messenger Column - 16-12-16 For those without a roof over their head in Maidstone, the Churches Winter Shelter returns in the New Year, offering beds, a warm meal, companionship and constructive...


09 DEC 2016

Child sexual abuse in football

Kent Messenger Column - 09-12-16 Prior to becoming the MP for Maidstone & The Weald I was a family lawyer for 23 years. One of my most harrowing cases came to me as a 'straightforward' injunction...


02 DEC 2016

Aleppo

Kent Messenger Column - 02-12-16 My KM column usually involves issues directly relevant to Maidstone & The Weald but every now and then an international tragedy develops that demands overriding...


25 NOV 2016

Exporting is GREAT

Kent Messenger Column - 25-11-16 In my former career as a business owner there came a point where I started looking for new sales opportunities abroad. It was a step in the dark and fraught with...


18 NOV 2016

Donald Trump

Kent Messenger Column - 18-11-16  Two Tuesdays ago I texted my sisters, one in North Carolina and the other in Maryland, reminding them both to vote for Clinton. Well, at least I did my bit for...


11 NOV 2016

Brexit process must be legal

Kent Messenger Column - 11-11-16 The usual suspects are out in force again, reinvigorating division and disharmony with misinformation about Brexit. I've received many letters from concerned...


04 NOV 2016

Swim Relay 2016

Kent Messenger Column - 04-11-16 From Live Aid to Children in Need, and from Red Nose day to Help for Heroes, I expect most of us have been inspired to donate or participate in various charity...


28 OCT 2016

Mobile Phone Signals

Kent Messenger Column - 28-10-16 Absurd isn't it? Overseas visitors to Britain automatically get the best roaming signal on their mobile phones, wherever they are in the UK, yet we Brits get stuck...


21 OCT 2016

Anti-slavery Day 2016

Kent Messenger Column - 21-10-16  Four years ago, the Kent Messenger broke a story about slavery in Maidstone; 30 Lithuanian men living in squalid conditions and threatened with violence if they...


14 OCT 2016

Local Plan

Kent Messenger Column - 14-10-16 Most working people have a job description these days, but unusually not so for MPs. Convention says we have responsibilities to our constituents, to Parliament and...


07 OCT 2016

Women in Sport

Kent Messenger Column - 07-10-16  As a young girl, sport was absolutely pivotal in my life. Finding activities that I could be 'good at' helped build my self-confidence and self-esteem and as...


30 SEP 2016

Boundary changes, have your say!

Kent Messenger Column - 30-09-16 A little shy of 20 years ago it would be true to say that Maidstone was abolished, and it wasn't the first time. In 1554 the town's Charter as a Parliamentary...


23 SEP 2016

Lower Thames Crossing

Kent Messenger Column - 23-09-16 Constituency work, by its very nature, is territorial but there are several challenges that MPs handle regionally; border control, counter-terrorism, public transport...


16 SEP 2016

Choice in Education

Kent Messenger Column - 16/09/16 There's only one left where I grew up in Cumbria, and on the other side of the Pennines there are none. Contrastingly Kent and Medway is home 39 state funded...


09 SEP 2016

Dementia

Kent Messenger Column - 09-09-16 In my family it's up there as one of the greatest family films of all time and on countless occasions we've enjoyed Gene Wilder in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory...


26 AUG 2016

The Lottery

Kent Messenger Column - 26-08-16 Do you remember where you were on the evening of Saturday 19th November 1994? There's a fair chance that, like my family, you were sitting around the TV watching 6...


19 AUG 2016

Visit Kent

Kent Messenger Column - 19-08-16  Last summer I visited my American family to celebrate a wedding and enjoy a vacation with them. To maintain the transatlantic momentum I invited them to join me...


12 AUG 2016

Sport for all

Kent Messenger Column - 12-08-16  It is the greatest show on earth and to be in it, let alone to win it, is a huge accolade for the 366 Olympians who have been selected to represent Great Britain at...


05 AUG 2016

Vodaphone CISS100 scheme

Kent Messenger Column - 05-08-16 High speed broadband and mobile phone services are an essential part of modern life for most of us. For some living in rural areas the situation is still far from...


29 JUL 2016

Vigilance with care

Kent Messenger Column -  29-07-16 It reminded me of operation stack all over again; miles and miles of traffic backing up from Dover just as the school holidays commenced last week. But this time...


22 JUL 2016

Celebrate!

Kent Messenger Column - 22-07-2016 This column has focused, somewhat unavoidably, upon divided opinions in recent weeks and I think everyone has had just about enough of politics, for a while at...


15 JUL 2016

A vote for change

Kent Messenger Column - 15-07-16 Our country has undergone an extensive period of uncertainty ever since the Prime Minister announced the referendum date four and a half months ago in February. A...


08 JUL 2016

The Leadership Election

Kent Messenger Column - 08-07-16 David Cameron's early resignation announcement was regrettable but understandable after losing the referendum, and so we now seek a new leader. I will be voting for...


01 JUL 2016

Brexit - the early fall-out

Kent Messenger Column - 01-07-16  If ever the phrase 'a week is a long time in politics' was pertinent, now is one such moment. The Brexit vote, David Cameron's resignation and the search for a new...


24 JUN 2016

Time to unify

Kent Messenger Column - 24-06-16 We now know the result of the referendum and a long period of divisive campaigning is finally over. Two weeks ago on these pages I criticised both sides of the...


17 JUN 2016

Why I will vote 'Remain'

Kent Messenger Column - 17-06-16  My decision to vote to 'remain' on June 23rd comprises many separate considerations, but the overarching reasons are about two fundamental pillars of human need;...


10 JUN 2016

EU Referendum

Kent Messenger Column – 10-06-16 A few months ago in this column I welcomed the PM's decision to hold his general election promise of an EU Referendum vote as early as realistically possible,...


03 JUN 2016

National Volunteers Week

Kent Messenger Column - 03-06-16  Some do it for fun or to meet other people, others seek to develop new skills, many do it to give something back, but they all do it for free. Every month 27% of...


27 MAY 2016

Sporting Equals

Kent Messenger Column - 27-05-16 22 years ago The Queen's Gurkha Engineers moved into Invicta Barracks and with them came a new and welcome cultural aspect to our County Town. Since that time the...


20 MAY 2016

The Swattenden Centre

Kent Messenger Column - 20-05-16 Much debate has surrounded the entry of unaccompanied child refugees to this country but little is reported about what happens once they arrive. To that end I...


13 MAY 2016

BBC Charter Review

Kent Messenger Column - 13-05-16 Personally I think £145.50 is pretty good value for a year's worth of TV, radio and internet content – particularly of the quality created by the BBC. But is...


06 MAY 2016

Unaccompanied Children

Kent Messenger Column 06-05-16 Several constituents have contacted me regarding whether or not the UK should take-in 3000 unaccompanied children, presently in Europe, having fled war-torn countries...


29 APR 2016

Meningitis B debate

Kent Messenger Column - 29-04-16 For almost three hours this Monday Parliament was engaged directly at the request of 823,345 petitioners from every constituency across the nation, following the...


22 APR 2016

Corporate Social Responsibility

Kent Messenger Column - 22-04-16  In Parliament next week I hope to raise the issue of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in a debate about Meningitis B. My point will relate specifically to...


15 APR 2016

PCC elections 2016

Kent Messenger Column - 15-04-16 'Britain has no written constitution' – discuss. Such was the title of an essay question I recall from my law exams many moons ago. It is a big subject that can...


08 APR 2016

Flood Management

Kent Messenger Column - 08-04-16 Monday was a step forward for Maidstone & The Weald, particularly for the flood-plain residents of Yalding, Marden, Hunton, Allington and other parts of my...


01 APR 2016

Meningitis B debate

Kent Messenger Column - 01-04-16 Privately, a course of three shots will cost a family around £400; that's the price of the Bexsero vaccination for one child against Meningitis B, whilst the...


25 MAR 2016

Strawberry fields forever

Kent Messenger Column - 25-03-16  As Wimbledon starts to appear on the horizon preparations for the annual strawberry fest are well underway and Kent is by far their largest supplier. But according...


18 MAR 2016

National Apprenticeship Week

Kent Messenger Column - 18-03-16 It's National Apprenticeship week once again and it is worthy of celebration. For those entering the workplace there are now 1500 different job roles across 170...


14 MAR 2016

International Women's Day

Kent Messenger Column - 11-03-16 Helen Grant MP speaking in the International Women's Day Debate A shock headline this week might have said 'Kent child abduction increases by 67%'. The figure is,...


04 MAR 2016

Sunday Trading

Kent Messenger Column - 05-03-16 1994 seems such a long time ago. The channel tunnel officially opened, Four Weddings and a Funeral was released and Tony Blair became leader of the Labour party. Oh...


26 FEB 2016

EU Referendum Launch

Kent Messenger Column - 26-02-16  The referendum is a simple question about a very complex situation and much remains to be clarified before we go to the polls on June 23rd. On the timing point I...


19 FEB 2016

Maidstone's Local Plan

Kent Messenger Column - 19-02-16  Speculative developers slipping questionable housing projects through the planning process, because we have no formally adopted local plan to oppose them, has been...


12 FEB 2016

Become a Councillor

Kent Messenger Column Last week's readers' letters were typical of the KM's postbag; subway closure, traffic signage, speed limits, infrastructure repair management to cite just a few. They are very...


05 FEB 2016

Southeastern

Kent Messenger Column - 05-02-16  Southeastern have been getting a bit of stick from Kent MPs again recently, even when there's no snow to blame. But how much rail commuter woe is actually their...


29 JAN 2016

Rural mobile phone services

Kent Messenger Column - 29-01-16  In February last year Communications Minister Ed Vaizey together with the major mobile phone companies joined me for a public meeting in Cranbrook. I wanted to...


22 JAN 2016

The Junior Doctors' Strike

Kent Messenger Column - 22-01-16  The NHS is perhaps Britain's most cherished institution. The provision of healthcare to be available for everyone, free at the point of use, is rightly considered...


15 JAN 2016

David Bowie

Kent Messenger Column - 15-01-2016 "I don't know where I am going from here, but I promise it won't be boring" Thus spoke David Bowie on his 50th Birthday but it was a quote that could be applied...


08 JAN 2016

Benenden's Community Share Offer

Kent Messenger Column - 08-01-16 In an era where the closure of village stores, post offices and pubs in our land is sadly commonplace, it is with great happiness that I can report one location in my...


01 JAN 2016

Kent County Council Flood Funding

Kent Messenger Column - 01-01-16  As I write this week's column national headlines universally report hundreds of flood warnings being in place, 27 of which the Environment Agency has deemed severe....


23 DEC 2015

Homelessness in Maidstone

Kent Messenger Column - 23-12-15 Vicar of St Lukes (left) and volunteers at the MCWS in St Lukes Church Hall Now in its third year of operation the Maidstone Churches Winter Shelter (MCWS) has...


18 DEC 2015

Don't suffer in silence

Kent Messenger Column - 18-12-15 Before I became the Member of Parliament for Maidstone & The Weald in 2010 I had been a practising solicitor for 23 years, with my own Legal Aid firm specialising in...


11 DEC 2015

Drink Driving

Kent Messenger Column - 11-12-15  It's the season for Christmas parties, family get-togethers and festive cheer. No doubt a glass or two of will be had by many but for drivers, how many units, or...


04 DEC 2015

The Syrian Vote

Kent Messenger Column - 04-12-2015 Helen Grant MP leaving the Chamber on Wednesday evening to vote I entered the chamber just before 11:30am with a weight on my mind and a churn in my stomach. For...


27 NOV 2015

Syria

Kent Messenger Column - 27-11-15  In August 2013 Parliament voted 'no' to military intervention in Syria. The motion on that occasion was specifically about preventing the Assad regime from...


20 NOV 2015

The Paris aftermath

Kent Messenger Column - 20-11-15 The Paris attacks last Friday were a step-change moment for the global community and have affected virtually everyone I have spoken with. The civilian security...


13 NOV 2015

Flood Management Update

Kent Messenger Column - 13-11-15 The rains of recent days provide a timely cue for a local flood management update. Readers may recall that following the Christmas floods of 2013 I established a...


06 NOV 2015

Tampon Tax

Kent Messenger Column - 06-11-15  Last week my mailbag saw an array of comments from puzzled and angry female constituents. They were questioning why, as a woman and a former Minister for Women, I...


30 OCT 2015

Fair School Funding

Kent Messenger Column - 30-10-15 Every now and then a campaign comes along that brings us all together, cross-party, for the common good. This one is called F40 and our aim is to get a fairer...


23 OCT 2015

Solar farms on agricultural land

Kent Messenger Column 23-10-15 In 2010 I made a pledge to the people of Maidstone & The Weald to do all I could to protect our precious countryside from inappropriate planning proposals. It was a...


16 OCT 2015

Special Constables

Kent Messenger Column - 16-10-15  In his civilian working life Ben Elsey is a project analyst working for Lloyds Banking Group. A lot of his work involves communicating across key project teams to...


09 OCT 2015

Party Conferences

Kent Messenger Column - 09-10-15 At the launch of my General Election campaign this year I was blessed with the support of a platoon of people from all ages and backgrounds. Some were still at...


02 OCT 2015

Cranbrook Community Hub

Kent Messenger Column - 02-10-15 When Cranbrook's council offices were demolished in 2011 several local organisations lost a home and the town lost a cohesive centre for its community. This issue...


25 SEP 2015

Punch and Judy Politics

Kent Messenger Ccolumn - 25-09-15  Throughout my career in business and in the legal profession, before I considered entering public service, I achieved success through quiet negotiation and...


18 SEP 2015

The River Medway; lets flaunt it!

Kent Messenger Column - 18-09-15  Critics say we don't use the River Medway to its full potential, either as a tourist attraction or as a local amenity, and they have a point. Within Maidstone town...


11 SEP 2015

Syrian refugees

Kent Messenger Column - 11-09-15  On July 4th the media reported migrant activity in Calais closing the channel tunnel and triggering Operation Stack, again. The people of Kent were understandably...


04 SEP 2015

Love Kent, Hate Litter

Kent Messenger Column - 04-09-15 This summer Kent's been getting tough on litter. For those of us who make the effort to dispose of our litter properly, this issue is a real bugbear. It's a regular...


28 AUG 2015

Commuter News

Kent Messenger Column - 28-08-15 Commuting to London can be the bane of working life for many. I share the angst being a regular rail user myself and I have spent much time engaging with our...


21 AUG 2015

6th Form Results

Kent Messenger Column - 21-08-15  Two years ago this week I remember returning to Maidstone from our family holiday to learn of my youngest son's 'A' level results. A mixture of anxiety and...


12 AUG 2015

The price of milk

Kent Messenger Column - 14-08-15 Every now and then politicians are confronted with the question of the price of milk to check if they are in touch with the everyday world. Right now a better...


07 AUG 2015

Operation Stack

Kent Messenger Column - 07-08-15  Since it was first used in 1988, Operation Stack has been a bane of life for Kentish folk and a hot potato for a string of Kent politicians. In 2000 Michael Howard...


31 JUL 2015

DfID Select Committee

Kent Messenger Column 31-07-15 A few days ago I was delighted and proud to be elected as a member of the Select Committee that keeps a close eye on the Department for International Development...


24 JUL 2015

Thank you Alistair and Lorna

Kent Messenger Column 24-07-15 One of the key attributes expected of an MP is to make a difference and get things done. Charged with that simple brief I find myself working with others who share the...


17 JUL 2015

Big Weekend

Kent Messenger Column 17-07-15  When my kids were still kids, family breaks were a rare opportunity to park our frantic working lives for a time and focus upon those we loved the most. But the...


10 JUL 2015

Sobell Lodge

Kent Messenger Column 10-07-15  The youngest group captain in the Royal Air Force and one of the most highly decorated pilots of WW2 resigned his commission after being profoundly affected as an...


03 JUL 2015

Work Experience

Kent Messenger Column 03-07-15 'The most striking point was how my experience seemed to completely contradict the negative label that is stuck to the entire political class. The governmental system...


26 JUN 2015

'Our hospitals'

Kent Messenger column 26-06-15 As long as I've been involved in Maidstone, I've been committed to Maidstone hospital. One of my first local campaigns was MASH (Maidstone Action for Services in...


19 JUN 2015

The Rule of Law and Magna Carta

Kent Messenger Column 19-06-15  I wish to pay tribute this week to a very special Maidstone friend and resident, for a very special reason. There are some political events that occupy a higher...


12 JUN 2015

Kent Fire and Rescue

Kent Messenger Column 12-06-15 The first aid box, a set of jump leads in the car, a laptop back-up procedure, knowing whether to dial 999 or 111; All of these are contingency plans for the...


05 JUN 2015

Farming for economic growth

Kent Messenger Column 05-06-15  The ability of the private sector to more than absorb the jobs lost in the public sector is widely seen as the story of Britain’s economic recovery so far, but...


29 MAY 2015

The Queens Speech

Kent Messenger Column 29-05-15 Over the last few months, through postal surveys and on the doorstep, I have received a wealth of comment and opinion from thousands of people in Maidstone & the Weald...


22 MAY 2015

It's great to be back!

Kent Messenger Column 22-05-15 Hello again everyone! In my last KM column before the election, on 30th January 2015, I said I would do my utmost to return in May, both as your MP and as a columnist,...


30 JAN 2015

Final KM Column before the General Election 2015

In October 2010 the editor of this paper invited me to write a column. I was given free rein on the subject matter and was just asked to keep it informal and local where possible. Since that time I...


23 JAN 2015

Campaigning for Commuters

Rail fare increases always generate debate but the cost of travel is but one of a compendium of issues our commuters report to me. Travellers regularly drop into my office at Maidstone East Station...


16 JAN 2015

Mobile Phone Coverage

I'm privileged to represent one of the most beautiful constituencies in the country in the Garden of England. Not only do we have a bustling and thriving county town in Maidstone, we have large...


09 JAN 2015

Potholes

They're known in the business as 'a failure in an asphalt pavement, caused by water in the underlying soil structure and the persistent passage of traffic passing over'. We know them as...


02 JAN 2015

2015

It seems every year in recent memory has produced something significant. Sporting showpieces, landmark anniversaries and historic celebrations. 2015 is set to continue that trend. Our First World War...


26 DEC 2014

Winter Shelter

They go about their vital work quietly and effectively all year round, but at Christmas time they come out to play – literally. A quintessential part of the English street scene in villages and...


19 DEC 2014

Rural Speeding

It's been brilliant meeting so many of you at my community outreach surgeries at various locations across the constituency and at my office at Maidstone East Station. This, the last Friday before...


12 DEC 2014

Small Business Saturday

The FTSE 100 gets a mention every day in our news bulletins but over 99% of businesses in the UK are in the SME category - small and medium sized enterprises. They are the lifeblood of our economy,...


05 DEC 2014

The Fight for Fant Farm

For years now there have been rumours and rumblings about possible building developments at the Fant Farm orchard in Maidstone and thankfully, one by one, they have all been fought off. Most recently...


28 NOV 2014

Flood management funding update imminent

FLOOD MANAGEMENT FUNDING DECISION IMMINENT Kent Messenger w.e. 28-11-14‘Partnership Working’ is working in Maidstone & the Weald In recent weeks I have reported on the work undertaken by a wide...


21 NOV 2014

Ebola

Ebola is a fearful infection, slipping under the body's natural protection radar while it takes hold. When our immune system eventually does kick-in, it over-reacts causing a ghastly melt-down of...


14 NOV 2014

We Will Remember Them

In the age of the social media and smartphones, moments of silent reflection are rare. In a bustling town like Maidstone or a city like London, the hum of activity is constant. So those moments where...


07 NOV 2014

Parking for pensioners?

As a working mum with two young boys I was always grateful for the dedicated car spaces allocated for us at Supermarkets and certain other public parking places. Blue Badge holders will feel...


03 NOV 2014

Ensuring our train services are on track

We commuters brace ourselves when the autumn clocks change, heralding the season of delay and disruption to our daily journeys. Here in the South East we have suffered significantly in recent years...


24 OCT 2014

2nd Flood Forum for Maidstone and the Weald

On Boxing Day and in the ensuing week last year I was working amidst a large number of people tackling the swollen waters of the Medway at Allington Lock, at Fairmeadow in Maidstone and in Yalding....


17 OCT 2014

Shadow Helen 2014 competition

Engaging younger people in our political processes is arguably one of the most important roles politicians undertake. These are the people who will shape the future of our nation and our place in the...


10 OCT 2014

Housing and Infrastructure

Last August I surveyed 1500 people in the village of Marden about local issues. One major concern (65%) was the effect of newly planned homes on local infrastructure, and sewage waste management in...


03 OCT 2014

Parliament Recalled

From circus animals to corporation tax and from barbers to bankers bonuses, MPs are required to take decisions on a huge range of issues. With most votes I feel comfortable that I am acting in the...


26 SEP 2014

Scotland and the West Lothian Question

The Scottish question was answered loud and clear last week and for me, personally, a sad cloud of division and uncertainty was dispersed in an instant. I lived in the Border Country for all of my...


19 SEP 2014

Future Flood Management Forum

Our Round Table Flood Management Forum in February 2014 was a valuable step forward for Maidstone & the Weald in preparing an integrated approach to future flood management. We came away with a...


12 SEP 2014

Invictus

The Olympic Legacy was a vital part of London 2012's successful bid to stage the games back in 2005. Some of our aspirations included: encouraging wider participation in sports, inspiring others to...


05 SEP 2014

Charity & Sport

With the news being dominated by conflict and darkness, both at home and around the world, it is a relief to see positive action too. Two events in which I was involved last weekend were glad...


29 AUG 2014

Results Day

It's that time of year again. Teenagers up and down the country have been anxiously awaiting GCSE and A-level results. Shaping future careers and influencing life-decisions -and going through it with...


22 AUG 2014

Family

As a daughter, wife, mother, family lawyer and now an MP: my outlook has always been influenced by my family. As a lawyer, looking after children and families and coordinating mediation to assuage...


15 AUG 2014

Pride - a hundred years on

Even with a week's or so perspective, I'm finding it hard to grasp fully what happened as we began the First World War Centenary commemorations. The events themselves – in Glasgow, Saint Symphorien,...


08 AUG 2014

3G Pitch Campaign - Victory!

It's official. The Football Conference will allow 3G pitches in all their leagues from the 2015/16 season. The decision vindicates a fantastic and hard-fought campaign by Maidstone United, which I was...


01 AUG 2014

Letter to an Unknown Soldier

"Dear soldier, It's hard to imagine what you went through. The heartbreak of leaving your loved ones behind. The fear of facing almost certain death. The nightmares that haunted your uneasy...


25 JUL 2014

Another action-packed week across the constituency!

It's been another action-packed week across the constituency. It started with another of my supermarket surgeries - this time at the Co-op in Cranbrook. It was fantastic to meet so many shoppers and...


18 JUL 2014

Banging the drums for schools' explorer day at Maidstone Museum

Almost 170 years ago, Maidstone man and Victorian explorer Julius Brenchley left the town on a voyage of discovery. He would spend the next 22 years of his life travelling the world, collecting...


11 JUL 2014

Kent County Show

Ferret racing, live bee keeping demonstrations, pig handling classes, heritage tractors, marching bands, spitfires and motorcycle displays! It can only be the Kent County Show. Now in its 85th year,...


04 JUL 2014

Westminster Work Experience

I will always be grateful for the opportunity I was given by my local MP Willie Whitelaw when he helped me secure funding for a place at the College of Law. That single act launched my career in the...


27 JUN 2014

Kent School Games

130 schools. Over 1,200 students. 8 different sports. Kent's School Games County Festival of Sport. As the year round intra and inter-school competition culminated in the Grand Finals at the...


20 JUN 2014

World Cup Fever!

World Cup fever has arrived. Despite England's late night loss to Italy on Saturday, there were many positives to take from our young, energetic side. I'll leave the post-match analysis to the...


13 JUN 2014

Apprentices and Hospitality

When I see success at a local level it is gratifying to be in a position to help develop that success nationally. Take the hospitality industry; It already employs an enormous number of people, many...


06 JUN 2014

Whitsun Recess

One of the great advantages of parliamentary recess is that I get to take part in a number of fantastic activities across the constituency. Over the past week I've seen a selection of some of the best...


30 MAY 2014

Helen takes floods to the top

The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has ultimate responsibility for endorsing government funding for certain major capital projects; projects like flood management...


23 MAY 2014

New Regular 'Meet Helen' Surgeries

I'm delighted to announce that I will be launching a series of new drop-in surgeries across Maidstone & The Weald. As your MP and voice in Westminster I think it's really important to be an accessible...


16 MAY 2014

Queen's Baton Relay

Our action-packed summer of sport is now just weeks away. Preparations are well under way as we approach the XX Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. The Queen's Baton landed on British Isles in Jersey on 11...


09 MAY 2014

Gambling

In my recent surgeries, a number of constituents have raised concerns about gambling and the clustering of betting shops our high streets. Under the current system, a betting shop falls into the same...


02 MAY 2014

Football and Peace

"Both sides singing...My orders to the Coy. [Company]...are not to start firing unless the Germans do". Captain A.S Bates, commanding No 4 Company, 1/5th London Regiment (4th Division), France, 24...


25 APR 2014

Summer of Sport

2014 promises another scintillating summer of sporting spectacle. The Commonwealth Games, the football World Cup, the Tour De France Grand Depart and Andy Murray's defence of his Wimbledon singles...


18 APR 2014

Flooding Action Plan

I want to update you on my work in tackling the issue of flooding across Maidstone and The Weald. Following my multi-agency round table meeting in February I prepared a draft plan which was then put...


11 APR 2014

WW1 Centenary & Walter Tull

The First World War Centenary is almost upon us. Newspapers, magazines, radio and television are aptly awash with articles and programmes marking the occasion, and it was fascinating to read about...


04 APR 2014

English Tourism Week

It's English Tourism Week! And this week marks its third annual incarnation celebrating the benefits this key industry brings to everyone, everywhere, and every day in England. There has been a...


28 MAR 2014

3G Pitches - Progress

It's official. 3G pitches will be permitted in the FA Cup next season. This is a fantastic boost for Maidstone United's campaign for 3G use in the Conference and for grassroots football up and down...


21 MAR 2014

The Case for 3G Pitches

The Stones remain very much in the hunt for promotion to the Conference South after a string of impressive performances in the Ryman Premier. But if they do qualify to go up, their promotion could be...


14 MAR 2014

International Women's Day 2014

Sadly we still live in what could be described as a man's world. Last Saturday marked the 103rd International Women's Day (IWD), or possibly the 106th! There are differing accounts of the year and...


07 MAR 2014

Flooding Round Table

The Christmas and New Year floods were a wake-up call: our communities remain vulnerable to the forces of nature unless we act to protect them. I want to assure my constituents that I am acting in the...


28 FEB 2014

Women in Sport

Let me put one thing straight. I am completely committed to getting more women participating in sport. Some of you may have read comments from me in the papers at the weekend that were taken out of...


21 FEB 2014

Visit Kent!

As your MP for Maidstone and The Weald I'm privileged to represent one of the most beautiful constituencies in the country, in the Garden of England that is Kent. As Tourism Minister it's my job to...


14 FEB 2014

Chance to Shine

On the back of the fantastic result in the Women's Ashes Down Under, this week I'd like to give a special mention to Chance to Shine, a brilliant initiative to get children involved in cricket from primary level....


07 FEB 2014

Equality and Democracy

I attended a fantastic event last Monday hosted by the Local Government Association where I outlined plans to help more disabled people get into politics. Disabled people are still vastly...


31 JAN 2014

Schools commemoration of WW1

In the news, daily, we learn of human tragedy somewhere in the world. We are told of the numbers of people lost but rarely is there time or space for the individuals involved, each of whom has a...


24 JAN 2014

Sochi Winter Games

In 2012 we witnessed the power of the Olympic movement bringing together the global community. The nexus is sport, of course, but so much more is achieved from these world-class events. I hope the...


17 JAN 2014

Digital Switch-On goes further

During the week before Christmas, as a Minister at the Department for Culture Media and Sport, I was delighted to be involved in 'Super Switch-On Day'. In case you missed it, this was the point at...


09 JAN 2014

Future flood management

The deluge continues and clearly we must implement improved flood defence solutions to deal with the inherent problems of Maidstone & the Weald. But the issues are complex and the costs can be...


03 JAN 2014

The Christmas Floods

The main story in the national news over the Christmas period is ebbing away like the flood waters themselves. With the clean-up operation now in full swing we have a chance to step back and review...


29 NOV 2013

Women's participation in sport

Women’s participation in sport29-11-13 Last weekend Maidstone’s Hazlitt theatre presented a dance spectacular featuring performers from the Melody Marshall School of Dance www.melodymarshalldance.co.uk. Established in 1982...


22 NOV 2013

1st World War Commemoration.

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918 the guns of Europe fell silent after four years of bitter fighting.  The Great War was finally over but at the cost of over 16...


15 NOV 2013

Protect our Bluebell Wood

Protect our Bluebell WoodA cross party campaign for Maidstone15/11/2013 5 years ago I made an election pledge to help protect our rural heritage in Maidstone & the Weald. At the time the ‘No to...


15 NOV 2013

Community Outreach Surgeries

08/11/2013 Community Outreach Surgeries When I was practising as a legal aid solicitor, I would spend much of my day seeing clients and helping them deal withtheir problems and worries. It might...


25 OCT 2013

Maidstone Churches' Winter Shelter

25/10/2013 Maidstone Churches' Winter Shelter As winter approaches the plight of people without a home is not only uncomfortable and lonely, it becomes hostile and life-threatening. Presently...


18 OCT 2013

Minister For Sport And Equalities

The announcement of my new job as Minister for Sport and Equalities spread quickly and the media reception was gratifying (http://www.helengrant.org/media/press-cuttings). I was curious, however,...


11 OCT 2013

UKPPS

On 28th December 2012, The Daily Telegraph correctly reported me as saying "We can't deal with serious organised crime without brave witnesses coming forward". I was talking about slavery, human...


04 OCT 2013

Broadening Horizons

I went to hospital last Friday to meet a builder. I was on the construction site of the new Kent Institute of Medicine and Surgery (KIMS) hospital just outside Maidstone near Junction 7 of the...


27 SEP 2013

Constituency Surgeries

On the cover of my Spring Newsletter, I was proud to report that my team and I had handled over 5,000 constituency enquiries since I was elected in May 2010. Many were dealt with by way of...


20 SEP 2013

Party Conference

Communication these days is a remarkable thing. You can speak on the phone to most people from almost anywhere in the populated world, and send and receive messages, documents, pictures and videos...


13 SEP 2013

Curry Lunch With Eric

Throughout my years in this constituency I have always sought to attract people of all ages and walks of life into the political forum wherever possible; local enterprise meetings, rural business...


06 SEP 2013

Syria

The Parliamentary recess of 2013 looked like it might turn out to be a quieter period than those of my previous two summers as a Member of Parliament. In 2011 we witnessed the scourge of the London...


23 AUG 2013

Enlightened Men And Courageous Women

The KM Editor and readers will know I take care to refrain from party political comments in this column. I am your Member of Parliament and I am here to represent everyone regardless of political...


16 AUG 2013

To Frack, Or Not To Frack?

Shale Gas and fracking has risen to prominence in recent weeks. It is a subject which garners strong feelings and Maidstone and The Weald is no exception. Concerns include detriment to our beautiful...


02 AUG 2013

Women And Equalities

Going into politics requires learning about yourself as much as anything else. What makes you tick, what are your beliefs and values. For me, fairness and equality of opportunity has always been up...


26 JUL 2013

Supporting Local Businesses

It is the Parliamentary summer recess and as MPs desert Westminster like clouds of bats fleeing from Hogwarts, cynics will have you believe that we all flutter off for 6 weeks of r & r on tropical...


19 JUL 2013

The Kent County Show

Where am I? Racing camels, charging forth like Epsom Derby contenders; a line of pretty ladies in red, revealing bulbous buttocks; an RAF Spitfire with British-bulldog growl performing low-altitude...


12 JUL 2013

For Country And For Constituency

Regular readers of this column will know how much I look forward to returning to my cottage in Maidstone and The Weald after a wearing Westminster week. Friday is usually surgery day and I attend as...


05 JUL 2013

Restoring Trust In Politics

Well under half of 18 to 24 year olds in our country bothered to vote in the last general election, yet in my opinion young people are probably more engaged with political issues than they have been...


28 JUN 2013

Pathways Into Work

Creating jobs in this tough economic climate is a common goal for all political parties but finding the people to fill them is a challenge in equal measure too. Speaking as an employer for the last...


21 JUN 2013

Joined-Up Thinking For Maidstone

Prime Minister's Questions can sometimes be an unruly affair with Members shouting and heckling. This is the Westminster that our national tv chooses to broadcast to the country and I can see why...


14 JUN 2013

A Busy Summer's Day

This column, in recent weeks, has largely been a diary of good news and happy events (www.helengrant.org/km-columns) and last Saturday was no exception. Simon and I awoke in our Marden cottage after...


07 JUN 2013

Volunteer Week

Every year about one third of our population do something for nothing. That's 20 million people giving 100 million hours of their time every week. It's a never-ending good news story and this week I...


31 MAY 2013

Best Of Times, Worst Of Times

The best of times, the worst of times. Last week I witnessed both. The appalling murder of Drummer Rigby was a stark reminder of the darkest depths humanity can fathom. Shocking blood soaked images...


24 MAY 2013

A Taste Of Kent In Westminster

When I popped over to my Mum's house in Sutton Valence last week, I met one of Kent's younger entrepreneurs. A local school girl was on the doorstep with a small delivery of pretty hen's eggs,...


17 MAY 2013

Celebrate Maidstone

Friday was a good news day for Maidstone and The Weald. In the afternoon, I had the pleasure of visiting my friends at Claygate Distribution in Marden for a happy occasion. They had invited me to...


10 MAY 2013

Good News For Business And The Economy

Despite persistently difficult economic circumstances, there are encouraging signs that the economy is healing. The deficit is now down by a third, interest rates remain at record lows, and...


03 MAY 2013

Mote Cricket Club

Remember the song: "What a perfect day, drink Sangria in the park, then later when it gets dark, we go home"? (Lou Reed - 1972). For me, last Sunday was that Perfect Day. Simon and I drove up from...


26 APR 2013

Human Trafficking

Last Thursday, in Women and Equalities oral questions, the issue of human trafficking was raised once again. The theme persisted this week when, as Victims Minister, on Monday I attended a human...


19 APR 2013

A Diary In The Week Of Baroness Thatcher's Funeral

Parliament resumed after recess at a merciless pace this week. Monday was the beginning of our consultations on the Victims Code (see my KM column 05th April), hotly followed on Tuesday by the...


12 APR 2013

Margaret Thatcher, 1925-2013

I think I was about ten when I first saw her in real life. She had come to Carlisle to open a civic centre and my Mum took me down to watch. There was Mrs. Thatcher, in one of her signature blue...


05 APR 2013

The Victims Code

It was something I encountered constantly in my legal practice, and it continues in my constituency surgeries. People who have suffered the effects of crime all too often tell me of their confusion,...


29 MAR 2013

Sergeant Fitzgerald Of Staplehurst

On Saturday in All Saints Church, Staplehurst, Simon and I had the privilege of attending a service of remembrance for Sergeant Reginald Charles Fitzgerald. Aged only 19 years old, Sgt. Fitzgerald...


22 MAR 2013

Success Breeds Success

Sport has always been a passion of mine and played a major part in my life. It was 'success breeds success', as the saying goes. Actually, I believe 'success breeds confidence', which in turn helps...


15 MAR 2013

Distance Risk For Maidstone Mums

The news about a baby being born on a Maidstone commuter train last week had a happy ending. Congratulations to all who ensured a safe delivery and I wish the very best to Sonia Banks and her...


08 MAR 2013

In My Book...

This week, we had a flurry of days celebrating education, with 'World Spelling Day' on Tuesday, 'World Maths Day' on Wednesday and 'World Book Day' on Thursday. Good literacy and numeracy skills are...


01 MAR 2013

Justice And Equality

I used to have a normal life. I was a solicitor, a businesswoman, a wife and a mum. In 2006 it all changed. I considered becoming a Member of Parliament. Suddenly I had to have an opinion on...


22 FEB 2013

London Fashion Week

There are occasions when my work and my more leisurely interests collide in happy harmony and last weekend was one such occasion. I was invited to visit London Fashion Week by the British Fashion...


15 FEB 2013

4G Is Not A Boy Band

A notepad, a pen and a Dictaphone. That was all I needed when I was running my legal practice. Word processing was the world of my wonderful assistant who anaesthetised me from my computer phobia...


08 FEB 2013

Power To The People

I very much welcomed David Cameron's announcement that he intends to renegotiate Britain's relationship with the European Union, and his promise that by the end of 2017, under a Conservative...


01 FEB 2013

That Friday Feeling

Central London is very quiet at 5 a.m., as I discovered last Friday travelling to Millbank Studios, opposite the Houses of Parliament. I was announcing the Government's new policy on protecting...


25 JAN 2013

There's No Business Like Snow Business

Some of my colleagues have vast rural seats to look after, whilst others represent corners of condensed urban metropolises. Maidstone and The Weald has both town and country, in a rather special...


18 JAN 2013

School Report

One of the most enjoyable and inspiring aspects of my work as a Member of Parliament is the opportunity to visit our local schools. It's a little chance to reminisce whilst having an insight into the...


13 JAN 2013

Mid Term Review

Mid Term Review Westminster woke up to the new term with gusto this week. Business in the house got off to a lively start with a snubbing of Europe’s draft Directive for a 40% quota for women on...


04 JAN 2013

Goodbye 2012, hello 2013

Goodbye 2012. Hello 2013. 2012 was a year of great contrast. Starting with a drought and ending with a flood, we also endured one of the least clement Junes I can remember. But amidst the...


21 DEC 2012

Christmas shopping

Christmas Shopping For Christmas shopping Maidstone & the Weald is hard to beat. In the north of the constituency our county town is home to one of the most diverse retail offerings in the country....


14 DEC 2012

Why be an MP?

Why be an MP? Why do you want to be an MP? It was the first question I was asked when I started my journey in politics and it is one of the most frequently repeated, by friends and constituents...


07 DEC 2012

Who Dares Wins

Who dares wins The BBC’s sports personality of the year will be crowned in a little over a week’s time; a tough choice in what has been a truly incandescent period for British Sport. It was...


30 NOV 2012

Community Spirit

Christmas has come early to Maidstone, or to be more precise, to the 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, and the The Royal Scots Borderers. They were part of Operation Yuletide, now in it's sixth...


23 NOV 2012

MPs expenses; what is right?

MPs should use their reasonable discretion in spending their allowances and that has been the topic of news again lately. Here are some examples of decisions I have taken; When I rented a home in...


16 NOV 2012

Maidstone Matters

My weekly column in the Kent Messenger is a privilege. I have always tried to use it to promote and support our local issues and inform people about my work. Sadly, this week, I feel compelled to use...


09 NOV 2012

PCC elections 2012

I wouldn't say doing a law degree was a walk in the park, but it did have its moments and learning about our 'Constitution' was one of them. Our American cousins had the wherewithal to create a...


02 NOV 2012

Presumption of Death Bill

My beloved dog Charlie went missing a few months back. I was beside myself. The rat turned up after a three hour search, nonchalantly appearing out of a neighbour's hedge. I thank God that's about as...


26 OCT 2012

Community is alive and well

What is a community? There are the 'online' versions; 'Facebook' (don't like), and 'Twitter' (kind of like). And there is the traditional version; 'People living together, helping each other, and...


19 OCT 2012

Anti-Slavery Day 2012

In April 1833, at a public meeting in Maidstone, the great politician and anti-slavery campaigner William Wilberforce delivered what was to be his final anti-slavery speech. He died three months...


12 OCT 2012

Trains, thieves and trespassers

Maidstone and the Weald commuters brace themselves at this time of year as adverse weather and falling leaves bring seasonal strife. But a ray of sunshine broke through on Sunday as the PM confirmed...


05 OCT 2012

Choice and equality

Freedom of choice and equality; two ancient cornerstones of democracy and things we often take for granted. In the final week of the summer recess I chose to join four other Parliamentarians, from...


28 SEP 2012

Party Conference

Making space in a busy life to think and plan, away from the usual daily demands and distractions, is essential for survival and success. Some of the most productive and enlightening meetings I have...


21 SEP 2012

The PM reads the KM

I had a lovely letter the other day. It was a most gratifying, kind and personal note, from a very busy man, about my appointment to the Government. One of the sentences was as follows; 'I loved your...


14 SEP 2012

Yes Minister

When the BBC's 'Yes Minister' was running in the early 80's my interests were not aligned. I confess to being involved with other student orientated activities at Hull University, partying included....


07 SEP 2012

Reshuffle

Last Wednesday I felt a bit like Billy Elliot – in the part where he waits for a decision on his acceptance into the Royal Ballet School, and then gets the letter while his family wait anxiously in...


31 AUG 2012

Paralympics

Monopoly was my first choice but Trivial Pursuits was always a giggle too, and there was a question I always answered – Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins and who? Learning of Neil Armstrong's passing...


24 AUG 2012

TalkTalk Digital Heroes Awards 2012

I used to be a technophobe, but I'm alright now. For most of my 23 years as a solicitor and a business owner, given a telephone, a dictaphone and secretary, all was fine and dandy. If anyone dared...


17 AUG 2012

London 2012: A gold medal Olympic legacy for gender balance

600 years B.C. a woman called Queen Hippodameia founded the Heraean games. They took place every four years and centuries later became the model for the Games at Olympia c. 175 AD. In some ancient...


10 AUG 2012

Parliamentary recess – a day in the life of

Our national media like to portray the summer Parliamentary Recess as MP's holidays. The notion of what they call a three month paid break is an attractive proposition, but sadly something I have only...


03 AUG 2012

A tale of two cities (London and Aleppo)

Human emotion is a wonderful and a fearsome thing. It impassions us to undertake great acts of caring, kindness and creativity, and empowers us to attain the most remarkable feats of mental and...


27 JUL 2012

Post combat DV

Before I became a Member of Parliament I spent some 23 years as a solicitor running a legal practice that specialised in tackling violence in the home. It remains a central aspect of my firm's...


20 JUL 2012

The week the Stones came home

I remember the weather on 28th November 2009. It was a bit miserable and damp and I was watching Maidstone United play Canvey Island at Ashford FCs ground 25 miles away from Maidstone. It was my...


13 JUL 2012

Kent County Show

In March it was all about drought warnings, hosepipe bans and dry reservoirs. Then the rains came, and caused havoc. The last of the hosepipe bans has been lifted, not that the gardens suffered, but...


06 JUL 2012

News is like our weather, but there is a bright side

Persistently dark and miserable interspersed with a few brighter moments, outlook uncertain. An accurate picture of our weather so far this year and it fits the bill for the headlines too. The...


29 JUN 2012

Armed Forces Day

How important is the defence of the realm? I would say it is our first priority. Yes the economy is the big issue right now, but if our way of life and our precious freedoms became threatened, money...


22 JUN 2012

Cage Cricket

A new game is making the news and I'd love to see it played in Maidstone. Sympathies for those who are not sports fans. You could be forgiven for seeking sanctuary in a local spa just now, with Euro...


15 JUN 2012

Fathers' Day

Should we invest in time travel research? Is smacking children OK? Why do fools fall in love? Politicians these days are expected to have opinions and views about pretty much anything, myself included...


08 JUN 2012

Syria

The celebrations of last weekend stimulated many diverse conversations amongst my friends and family. The strength of our Union, the freedoms we enjoy, the British ideals of fairness and tolerance,...


01 JUN 2012

The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

A palpable air of Jubilee anticipation spread through Westminster following Her Majesty's special address to Parliament in March. MPs and Peers have now unveiled the Diamond Jubilee window in...


25 MAY 2012

Civic Pride and Charity beats Euro nausia

In September last year, in this column, I expressed my amazement at the Eurozone leaders' lack of assertiveness in dealing with their predicament. Reports from the Camp David G8 meeting this week...


18 MAY 2012

The Israel / Palestine conflict

I remember, as a child, three pervading international conflicts constantly in the news headlines; the Vietnam war, the troubles in Northern Ireland, and the Israel – Palestine conflict. The latter...


04 MAY 2012

Gatwick getaway

Good infrastructure is vital to any economy, both regional and national. Maidstone, being a commuter town, relies more heavily than most on our railways. The UK, being an island, often puts more stock...


27 APR 2012

Marathon effort

The annual London Marathon weekend is indelibly impressed upon my memory. Those who have undertaken this valiant venture will doubtless recall the anniversary of their efforts with quite some emotion,...


20 APR 2012

South Sudan

A country girl at heart, my Cumbrian upbringing has engrained within me a great affection for our bountiful land. Something I had not realised fully until my more recent years, particularly upon...


13 APR 2012

Portas Pilot

When I was talking to Simon recently about what makes a good shopping centre he (predictably) went off on 'the theory of competing centres' and made (understandably) un-girly utterances about...


06 APR 2012

National Citizens Service

Anyone who has ever been in a 'Catch 22' situation will know the anxiety and fear of being amidst a seemingly inescapable dilemma. The charity known as Catch 22 was created to help young people who...


30 MAR 2012

A Taste of Britain

I wonder which words Jilly Goolden and Oz Clarke would use to describe England if our country were a wine? Complex, historic and reserved, but yet bold and forthright with notes of crustiness? In...


23 MAR 2012

Diamond Queen

As children we seek leadership and wisdom for our protection and guidance. Many of us are lucky enough to find it in our parents. And even when we grow up ourselves, their strength often remains an...


16 MAR 2012

Newts of the Medway Unite

Readers may recall my recent column concerning the drought threat facing the river Medway. An invitation to meet with the Medway Valley Countryside Partnership team last week was therefore a timely...


09 MAR 2012

Teenage pregnancies

The trouble with Statistics is that they deny emotion to the scenarios in which they are employed; 'human beings with the tears wiped off' as someone once said. And so it is with recently released...


02 MAR 2012

Schmallenburg Virus

2001 was a rural disaster of almost biblical proportions in parts of this country. Our national news broadcast pictures of quarantined families and warzones of slaughtered carcasses being dumped by...


24 FEB 2012

Appealing for our watery heritage

Warnings of drought are being heralded once again. Our own Bewl Water is pictured in the Sunday Times this week looking like a parched African landscape. A single small dinghy, with its keel balancing...


17 FEB 2012

Calling Police and Crime Commissioners everywhere

Dawn raiding Sun Journalists and Abu Qatada's curfew - just a small sample of the complex policing issues arising over the last week. The decisions and actions taken by our law enforcement officers...


10 FEB 2012

JustTextGiving

Question: What have the following got in common? Kent Wildlife Trust, The Holly Eatwell Trust (cancer in young people), The Giraffe Project (child education in Nairobi), The Jeremy Willson Charitable...


03 FEB 2012

Are you being kept in the dark?

In the celebrated 1994 movie, Forrest Gump memorably said "Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." I wonder how many of our readers have unwittingly...


27 JAN 2012

Bring back real bank managers

Last week's column was very much about the Westminster week, Monday to Thursday. It is an intense, surreal and often rather airless environment. Thank goodness for the oxygen of constituency...


20 JAN 2012

International affairs

It was back to Westminster for me last week as Parliament resumed its work after the Christmas break. I felt a noticeable shift away from domestic toward international issues - perhaps because much of...


13 JAN 2012

The Iron Lady

It was with great interest that I went to see the movie 'The Iron Lady' this weekend. Love her or loathe her, Margaret Thatcher was undoubtedly a strong and decisive leader and I wondered how...


06 JAN 2012

Maidstone is a Des Res!

There are a plethora of polls, surveys and reports published throughout the year making assertions or claims as an excuse to create publicity or promote sales. But sometimes the pollsters do actually...


30 DEC 2011

Goodbye 2011, hello 2012!

2011 was a year of colossal change. One that will be worthy of its own chapter in the study books of students for centuries. The 'Arab Spring' was an awakening of hope that has willed literally...


23 DEC 2011

Christmas is a time for charity

How many of us have benefited from the work of a charity in the last year? The range of possibilities is diverse, including anything from Animal Welfare to Cancer Research and from the St John's...


16 DEC 2011

Don't suffer in silence

In this column, about a year ago, I highlighted a persistent problem that always becomes more acute at Christmas time. I make no apology for returning to the subject now. Domestic violence doesn't...


25 NOV 2011

Strike Out

One side call it sound political protest, the other says it is self-serving disruption at a time when least we need it and least we can afford it. Either way, next Wednesday could see the biggest day...


18 NOV 2011

Question Time

People in this country are disengaged with Politics. Such is the contention of many within the Party political sphere, citing poor turnout at the polls and lack of party membership as concrete...


04 NOV 2011

Maidstone Hospital

Rarely a week goes by without Maidstone Hospital being in the news for one reason or another. No wonder. It maintains the heartbeat of around 250,000 people in our County Town and environs. And yet...


28 OCT 2011

An open door to democracy

Before I became involved in Politics, my impression of Westminster and the people of Parliament was that of another world. It was somewhere behind locked doors where mortals rarely entered and where...


21 OCT 2011

Helen goes clubbing!

Some would say 'the trouble with young people today is that all they do is watch TV and play console games', oh yes, and drink too much at high street hostelries. The perception is oft an unfortunate...


14 OCT 2011

The NHS misTrust

Last week a news story broke in this paper which was also well covered by BBC TV as their lead item on Friday's South East Today. The argument was about ambulance visits lurching away from Maidstone,...


07 OCT 2011

A big step closer for the Stone's return

Sustaining successful and happy societies requires strong and united communities - places where people work together toward a common good. Issues that have galvanized the local populous here over...


30 SEP 2011

Passage to India

During this conference season recess I joined a small group of MPs visiting a country of 1.2 billion people as guests of their Government. We were in India to see social, political and economic...


23 SEP 2011

Power to the people

When a crisis hits, its impact is often determined less by the severity of the challenge than by the timeliness and effectiveness of the response. Mindful of this I am flabbergasted at the manner in...


16 SEP 2011

Goodbye summer, Hello conference season

Prior to the General Election last year the Parliamentary Summer Recess continued right through to the end of the Party Conference season in Mid October. Not any more, and rightly so in these...


09 SEP 2011

Life after recess

One of the challenges I have consistently faced since the election 16 months ago is to try and explain to constituents what an MP does, and equally what perhaps should be done by someone else, maybe a...


02 SEP 2011

Love grows (where my Rosemary goes)

Many readers in my age group and beyond will surely remember the tune to 'Love grows where my Rosemary goes, and nobody knows but me'. The song's pervading cheerfulness, deftly performed live by 70's...


26 AUG 2011

Maidstone's rail commuter services

'Is it possible you could take a little break from Oaken Wood and supporting fruit growers onto some more pressing matters such as why commuters from Maidstone will have to pay extortionate above...


19 AUG 2011

Out of the shadows come the stars of tomorrow

The fall-out of last week's rioting continues to grab the national headlines, with the political parties vying for position with policies and ideas about how to respond and how to prevent. There is no...


12 AUG 2011

Criminals on our streets

This week I had intended to write a good news story about young people in Maidstone & the Weald. It was about aspiration, success and achievement. I find it impossible, however, to talk about...


05 AUG 2011

Living within our means

Do you remember when you had to save up if you wanted something and if you didn't have the money you couldn't have it? There was even a bit of a stigma attached to buying things on the 'never never'...


29 JUL 2011

Tragedy and Hope

Not being a person who dwells on the negative aspects of our world I found myself in uncomfortable territory this week. The famine in the Horn of Africa is a human disaster of such enormity that it...


22 JUL 2011

Richard Plummer

A few years ago one shuddering phone call knocked me completely off balance. I heard that my Mum had been involved in a head-on car collision whilst on holiday. They said she was unconscious, in...


15 JUL 2011

Allington Castle & Kent Wines

It's everywhere you look, so I am not going to go on about it, but I cannot let this week go by without paying my respects to those who have been the victims of the phone hacking scandal. It is one of...


08 JUL 2011

Strengthening Families

Tens of thousands of mortar boards are being thrown into the air at this time as proud families gather for graduation ceremonies across our country. And we were among them with our hearts and hankies...


01 JUL 2011

A day in Westminster

I am often asked 'what is your typical day' and my short reply is 'there isn't one'. Responding to the mass of incoming communications and maintaining a busy diary is ever ongoing but the rest is very...


24 JUN 2011

Legal aid

The school exam season is coming to an end – hooray! This year I have taken my third set of GCSEs, and they don't get any easier. This lot were my youngest son Joel's and two years ago it was his...


17 JUN 2011

What is the military covenant?

Ever mindful of the welfare of Maidstone's 36 Engineer Regiment and our Queens Gurkha Engineers I took great interest in the third reading of the Armed Forces bill in the House of Commons this week....


10 JUN 2011

Religious education is more important today than it has ever been

I regularly receive lobbying letters about last January's introduction of the English Baccalaureate (EBac) into our schools curriculum. My position is that I support the principle of the EBac as a...


03 JUN 2011

We need a bit more order Mr Speaker

Ken Clarke was recently castigated for an injudicious choice of words. He was discussing criminal sentencing and became flustered by a sharp radio interviewer who focused on different categories of...


27 MAY 2011

Belle of the ball

Readers who are unfamiliar with the County town of Maidstone might be forgiven for guessing the Allington Belle is a twin of the Brighton Belle, the famous Pullman class electric train service which...


25 MAR 2011

Womens’ and Children’s services at Maidstone Hospital

In May 2010 the Secretary of State for Health, Andrew Lansley, published four criteria which needed to be satisfied if hospital reconfigurations were to be allowed to proceed. The support of GPs was...


25 FEB 2011

What is the Big Society?

There is much debate in the air about the Big Society, about what it means, and whether it is a mere smokescreen as some cynics would have us believe. For me, as a concept, the Big Society is a way...


21 JAN 2011

Southeastern must wake up and smell the coffee

One of the questions I have often been asked in interviews is 'if there was one thing you could do for your constituency what would it be?' And my answer is 'to strengthen our County Town and its...


14 JAN 2011

Maidstone Hospital

The Secretary of State's recent decision to allow the reconfiguration of womens' and childrens' services between Maidstone and Pembury Hospitals is so irrational that it gives me hope. This may sound...


24 DEC 2010

A toast to our troops, and one for their brave families too

In Westminster recently I sponsored a long established Christmas lunch event organised by one of our distinguished constituents; Lt Col (retd) Brian Awford RE of Cranbrook. Running since 1977 these...


26 NOV 2010

Domestic Violence

One humorous festive card I have noticed this year features the legend 'women and turkeys against Christmas'. Sadly the intended joke will only be a fearful reminder for the hundreds of women, and...


29 OCT 2010

Ill-planned short-term savings could cost us dearly

In the Kent Messenger published 22/10/10 many of the most important leaders in Maidstone's voluntary and charity sector rightly and properly set out a series of reasons why great care must be taken...